Global temperatures in 2020 were among the highest on record and rivaled 2016 as the hottest year ever, according to international data compiled by the World Meteorological Organization and released on Thursday.
The heat came even as a global economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic drastically reduced fossil fuel emissions, adding evidence that concentrations of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere have put the planet on track. Warming.
The WMO report included data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the UK Met Office, both of which ranked 2020 as the second warmest year on record because of a cooling trend. called La Ninaa failed to tame global temperatures. NASA, whose data was also included, said 2020 tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record.
The news is “another stark reminder of the relentless pace of climate change, which is destroying lives and livelihoods on our planet,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century.”
The WMO said the differences in average global temperatures between the three warmest years, 2016, 2019 and 2020, were indistinguishablely small. The average global temperature in 2020 was about 14.9 C (59 F), or about 1.2 C above the pre-industrial level of 1850-1900. This was approaching the lower limit of temperature increase of 1.5 ° C that the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement sought to avoid.
The five datasets studied by the WMO showed that 2011-2020 was the hottest decade on record, and NOAA said the hottest seven years since record keeping began in 1880 have occurred. since 2014.
There is at least a one in five chance that the average global temperature will temporarily exceed this limit by 2024, according to a WMO analysis conducted by the UK Met Office.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, the second largest source of pollution after China, fell by more than 10% last year, the biggest drop in the post-WWII era, as the coronavirus was crippling the economy, the Rhodium Group said. this week.
This decline should not be taken as a guarantee that the United States can easily meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions by 28% by 2025. President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States. United of the deal, but President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to join after taking over on Jan.20.
WMO, a United Nations agency, relied on data from observing sites, ships and buoys from NOAA and NASA, the UK’s Met Office Hadley Center and the Unit University of East Anglia Climate Research.
He also used data sets from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and its Copernicus Climate Change Service and the Japan Meteorological Agency.
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