Last year was the planet’s hottest on record by a significant margin and likely the world’s warmest in the past 100,000 years, the European Union’s climate agency says.

Scientists had widely expected the milestone after climate records were repeatedly broken. Since June, every month has been the world’s hottest on record compared with the corresponding month in previous years.

“This has been a very exceptional year climate-wise, … in a league of its own, even when compared to other very warm years,” the director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), Carlo Buontempo, said on Tuesday.

C3S confirmed 2023 as the hottest year among global temperature records going back to 1850. When checked against palaeoclimatic data records from sources such as tree rings and air bubbles in glaciers, Buontempo said, it was “very likely” the warmest year in the past 100,000 years.

On average in 2023, the planet was 1.48 degrees Celsius (2.66 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than in the 1850-1900 pre-industrial period, after which humans began burning fossil fuels on an industrial scale, pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Countries agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement to try to prevent global warming from surpassing 1.5C (2.7F) to avoid its most severe consequences.

The world has not breached that target – which refers to an average global temperature of 1.5C over decades – but C3S said temperatures had exceeded that level on nearly half of the days of 2023, setting “a dire precedent”.

This month is on track to be so warm that for the first time a 12-month period will exceed the 1.5-degree threshold, C3S Deputy Director Samantha Burgess said.

The 1.5-degree goal “has to be [kept] alive because lives are at risk and choices have to be made,” Burgess added. “And these choices don’t impact you and I, but they impact our children and our grandchildren.”

Source: Aljazeera

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