Each of the last four decades has been hotter than the last Photo: AFP/File
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2010s hottest decade in history, U.N. says as emissions rise again

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By Patrik STOLLARZ

This decade is set to be the hottest in history, the United Nations said Tuesday in an annual assessment outlining the ways in which climate change is outpacing humanity's ability to adapt to it.

The World Meteorological Organization said global temperatures so far this year were 1.1 degrees Celsius (two degrees Farenheit) above the pre-industrial average, putting 2019 on course to be in the top three warmest years ever recorded.

Manmade emissions from burning fossil fuels, building infrastructure, growing crops and transporting goods mean 2019 is set to break the record for atmospheric carbon concentrations, locking in further warming, the WMO said.

Oceans, which absorb 90 percent of the excess heat produced by greenhouse gases, are now at their highest recorded temperatures.

The world's seas are now a quarter more acidic than 150 years ago, threatening vital marine ecosystems upon which billions of people rely for food and jobs.

In October, the global mean sea level reached its highest on record, fuelled by the 329 billion tonnes of ice lost from the Greenland ice sheet in 12 months.

Each of the last four decades has been hotter than the last.

And far from climate change being a phenomenon for future generations to confront, the effects of humanity's insatiable, growth-at-any cost consumption means millions are already counting the damage.

The report said more than 10 million people were internally displaced in the first half of 2019 -- seven million directly due to extreme weather events such as storms, flooding and drought.

By the end of the year, the WMO said new displacements due to weather extremes could reach 22 million.

"Once again in 2019 weather and climate related risks hit hard," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

"Heatwaves and floods which used to be 'once in a century' events are becoming more regular occurrences."

At just 1C hotter than pre-industrial times, 2019 has already seen deadly heatwaves in Europe, Australia and Japan, superstorms devastate southeast Africa, and wildfires rage out of control in Australia and California.

Nations are currently in crucial talks in Madrid aimed at finalising rules for the 2015 Paris climate accord, which enjoins countries to work to limit global temperature rises to "well below" 2C.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year outlined how vital it was for mankind to aim for a safer cap of 1.5C -- ideally by slashing greenhouse gas emissions and retooling the global economy towards renewable energy.

The UN said last week in its annual "emissions gap" assessment that the world needed to cut carbon emissions by 7.6 percent each year, every year, until 2030 to hit 1.5C.

Instead, emissions are rising.

And while governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars subsidising fossil fuels, there appears to be no consensus in Madrid over how countries already dealing with climate-related catastrophe can fund efforts to adapt to the new reality.

"Our economic activities continue to use the atmosphere as a waste dump for greenhouse gases," said Joeri Rogelj, Grantham Lecturer in Climate Change at Imperial College London.

"The increasing temperatures, the warming oceans, ocean acidification and other indicators are the logical consequence of this inaction and this should worry us deeply."

Even if all Paris pledges were honored, Earth is still on course to be more than 3C warmer by the end of the century.

Part of the discussions in Madrid is aimed at getting countries to increase their climate action ambition ahead of a deadline next year.

Friederike Otto, deputy director of the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, said the WMO report "highlights that we are not even adapted to 1.1 degree of warming."

"And there is no doubt that this 1.1 degree is due to the burning of fossil fuels," he said.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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Manmade emissions from burning fossil fuels, building infrastructure, growing crops and transporting goods mean 2019 is set to break the record for atmospheric carbon concentrations, locking in further warming,

According to most climate scientists, with the exception of those paid by the oil and gas industries', some of whom are saying it's just nature's way, leave things alone, nothing can be done, get ready to deal with the problems.

The state's pushing fossil industries and the fossil economy, states like Trump's US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc., know for their elite establishments to maintain their power and control over the globe's population they need to undermine the efforts of those pushing for conservation measures and reductions in the amount of hydrocarbons burnt.

The aging global leaders (mostly septuagenarians wanting a return to the 1950's when they were young) make personal attacks on those favoring alternatives. These leaders continue to subsidize (aka welfare/socialism for the rich) the corporations that enrich them and their supporters.

 the fossil fuel industry got a whopping $5.2 trillion in subsidies in 2017. This amounts to 6.4 percent of the global gross domestic product.https://www.vox.com/2019/5/17/18624740/fossil-fuel-subsidies-climate-imf

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Cue the morons without advanced degrees in science arguing against those with advanced degrees in science.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The rich can adapt to climate changes better than the poor.

This is why no real action will come into effect anytime soon...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This decade is set to be the hottest in history

The hottest in history? The planet is 4.3 billion years old and the last 10 years are the hottest in history? That is the very definition of malarkey (a term nearly as old as the Earth).

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Our economic activities continue to use the atmosphere as a waste dump for greenhouse gases,

CO2 is vital for life on the Earth. An atmospheric gas that is vital to all life on the planet is not “waste”. It is plant food.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

CO2 is vital for life on the Earth. An atmospheric gas that is vital to all life on the planet is not “waste”. It is plant food.

Just like water but if you drink too much at once it will kill you.

Hotter temperatures kill plants and cause drought which wipe out massive areas of life supporting crops. The hotter temperatures and chemical pollutions are killing very important insects including bees which are vital for crop growing. Millions of insects have gone extinct.

How much CO2 do plants need? Certainly the current record amounts.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

And while governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars subsidising fossil fuels

Do these subsidies (welfare/socialism for the globe's elite) include the costs states like the US spend on military activities such as Iraq and Afghanistan in support of fossil fuels industries. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have cost US taxpayers TRILLIONS, so those costs should also be included. The subsidies received by big oil and big defense are of course paid by taxpayers. Instead of getting government services (healthcare, infrastructure, education, jobs training, environmental cleanup, etc.) that help the population in general, the subsidies provide the most benefits to the country's richest and most powerful.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Just like water but if you drink too much at once it will kill you.

In the last 150 years the volume of CO2 in the atmosphere increased from .03% to .041%. That’s it!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This decade is set to be the hottest in history, the United Nations said Tuesday in an annual assessment outlining the ways in which climate change is outpacing humanity's ability to adapt to it.

The real question is "Why is climate change being allowed to outpace humanity's ability to adapt to it". If you are aware that the planet has been getting warmer since the last ice age, why aren't these CO2-is-evil zealots demanding better insulated housing, and increased energy production to power more air conditioning?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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