2020 was joint hottest year ever recorded

Categories: Big picture
Published on: January 9, 2021

The Guardian / Damian Carrington / 8 January 2021

The climate crisis continued unabated in 2020, with the the joint highest global temperatures on record, alarming heat and record wildfires in the Arctic, and a record 29 tropical storms in the Atlantic.

Despite a 7% fall in fossil fuel burning due to coronavirus lockdowns, heat-trapping carbon dioxide continued to build up in the atmosphere, also setting a new record. The average surface temperature across the planet in 2020 was 1.25C higher than in the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900, dangerously close to the 1.5C target set by the world’s nations to avoid the worst impacts.

Only 2016 matched the heat in 2020, but that year saw a natural El Niño climate event which boosts temperatures. Without that it is likely 2020 would have been the outright hottest year. Scientists have warned that without urgent action the future for many millions of people “looks black”.

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