Showing posts with label Climate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Climate. Show all posts

26 March 2020

Who Is Really Causing Climate Change?

by Mark New
Source Link

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

How much climate change is natural? How much is man made?

As someone who has been working on climate change detection and its causes for over 20 years I was both surprised and not surprised that I was asked to write on this topic by The Conversation. For nearly all climate scientists, the case is proven that humans are the overwhelming cause of the long-term changes in the climate that we are observing. And that this case should be closed.

Despite this, climate denialists continue to receive prominence in some media which can lead people into thinking that man-made climate change is still in question. So it’s worth going back over the science to remind ourselves just how much has already been established.

Who Is Really Causing Climate Change?

by Mark New
Source Link

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

How much climate change is natural? How much is man made?

As someone who has been working on climate change detection and its causes for over 20 years I was both surprised and not surprised that I was asked to write on this topic by The Conversation. For nearly all climate scientists, the case is proven that humans are the overwhelming cause of the long-term changes in the climate that we are observing. And that this case should be closed.

Despite this, climate denialists continue to receive prominence in some media which can lead people into thinking that man-made climate change is still in question. So it’s worth going back over the science to remind ourselves just how much has already been established.

21 March 2020

Climate Change: A National Security Threat Multiplier – Analysis

By Yash Vardhan Singh*
Source Link

Environmental risks arising from climate change are now considered to be powerful threat multipliers. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2020 identifies five of the top ten global risks as being of an environmental nature, owing to the confluence of climate change and ecological degradation. Recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports point to extensive impacts of climate change despite prevailing mitigation efforts, particularly for countries like India.

Even if one considers the IPCC’s middle ground predictions for temperature and rainfall variations, India will be highly vulnerable to droughts, heat stress, sea level rises, and extreme weather events including cyclones, floods etc. Furthermore, factors such as the enormous population size, socio-economic inequality, extreme poverty, agricultural dependency and high density of population along coastal areas would compound physical threats. What then would the domino effect of climate change on national security be, particularly arising from potential interactions with: a) insurgencies; b) critical infrastructure, especially nuclear installations; and c) public health? As these three domains are relevant to traditional security, infrastructure, and overall human security, they are useful case studies to gain insights on the multifaceted security implications that climate change could pose.
Insurgencies

20 March 2020

How Should the World Respond to the Coming Wave of Climate Migrants?

Stewart M. Patrick 

By 2050, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will have left their homes as a result of climate change—a mass displacement that will make already-precarious populations more vulnerable and impose heavy burdens on the communities that absorb them. Unfortunately, the world has barely begun to prepare for this impending crisis.

Those displaced by climate change are neither true refugees nor traditional migrants, and thus occupy an ambiguous position under international law. The world needs to agree on how to classify environmental migrants, as well as what their rights are. It also needs to strengthen its capacity to manage these mass migrations, without weakening existing international regimes for refugees and migrants. .

19 March 2020

How Should the World Respond to the Coming Wave of Climate Migrants?

Stewart M. Patrick 

By 2050, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will have left their homes as a result of climate change—a mass displacement that will make already-precarious populations more vulnerable and impose heavy burdens on the communities that absorb them. Unfortunately, the world has barely begun to prepare for this impending crisis.

Those displaced by climate change are neither true refugees nor traditional migrants, and thus occupy an ambiguous position under international law. The world needs to agree on how to classify environmental migrants, as well as what their rights are. It also needs to strengthen its capacity to manage these mass migrations, without weakening existing international regimes for refugees and migrants.

16 March 2020

Not Just Climate Change: The Other Dangerous Ways Fossil Fuels Hurt Us

by Noel Healy Jennie C. Stephens Stephanie Malin
Source Link

Many Democratic lawmakers aim to pass a Green New Deal, a package of policies that would mobilize vast amounts of money to create new jobs and address inequality while fighting climate change.

Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, they are calling for massive investments in renewable energy and other measures over a decade that would greatly reduce or even end the nation’s overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels.

As experts in environmental geography, sociology, and sustainability science and policy, we wholeheartedly support this effort. And, as we explained in a recently published study, climate change is not the only reason to ditch fossil fuels.

13 March 2020

Cheap Oil Is the Fuel That Makes Climate Change So Hard To Stop

by Scott L. Montgomery
Source Link

Burning fossil fuels, the main source of manmade carbon dioxide, is the biggest cause of climate change. In the U.S. and other wealthy countries, oil is the single largest source of these emissions.

The relationship between supply and demand, a fundamental economic concept, holds that when the price of something rises, people use less of it. Similarly, when prices fall, they use more.

And it may seem logical that low oil prices benefit consumers, countries, even the world. When consumers save money on gas, they can spend it elsewhere.

Yet, I argue that climate change makes this view obsolete.

That’s because cheap oil has two big downsides along with its short-term gains. It erodes the advantages of vehicles that get more miles to the gallon, making consumers less apt to do their share to reduce emissions by buying vehicles that use less fuel – or none at all.

Millions Dead? What If There Is No Possible Plan to Stop Climate Change?

by John Quiggin

There is growing evidence that Earth’s systems are heading towards climate “tipping points” beyond which change becomes abrupt and unstoppable. But another tipping point is already being crossed - humanity’s capacity to adapt to a warmer world.

This season’s uncontrollable bushfires overwhelmed the nation. They left 33 people dead, killed an estimated one billion animals and razed more than 10 million hectares – a land area almost the size of England. The millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide the fires spewed into the atmosphere will accelerate climate change further.

Humans are a highly adaptive species. In the initial phases of global warming in the 20th century, we coped with the changes. But at some point, the pace and extent of global warming will outrun the human capacity to adapt. Already in Australia, there are signs we have reached that point.

Yes, Climate Change Could End Up Killing You

by Chelsey Kivland Anne Sosin

Around the world, the health care debate often revolves around access.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, recently announced: “All roads lead to universal health coverage.” Discussions for how to translate this vision into a road map for action is central to the agenda of the WHO’s executive board meeting this week in Geneva.

Yet focusing on access is not enough. The imperative for access must be paired with a frank acknowledgment that climate change is making communities around the world more vulnerable to ill health. A 2017 commission of The Lancet, a leading health research journal, tracked the effects of climate change on health and found evidence of harms “far worse that previously understood.”

Even as we move to close the access gap, a string of natural disasters in late 2017, including successive hurricanes and widespread forest fires, threaten to widen the vulnerability gap.

As a global health professional (Sosin) and a cultural anthropologist (Kivland), we have witnessed how the global exchange of health technology, expertise and aid has contributed to dramatic gains in the delivery of health care in Haiti and other settings, especially around infectious diseases. Yet climate change threatens to undermine the health gains in vulnerable communities across the globe.

Not Just Climate Change: The Other Dangerous Ways Fossil Fuels Hurt Us

by Noel Healy Jennie C. Stephens Stephanie Malin

The coal, oil and natural gas industries are also major contributors to human rights violations, public health disasters and environmental devastation.

Many Democratic lawmakers aim to pass a Green New Deal, a package of policies that would mobilize vast amounts of money to create new jobs and address inequality while fighting climate change.

Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, they are calling for massive investments in renewable energy and other measures over a decade that would greatly reduce or even end the nation’s overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels.
As experts in environmental geography, sociology, and sustainability science and policy, we wholeheartedly support this effort. And, as we explained in a recently published study, climate change is not the only reason to ditch fossil fuels.

The coal, oil and natural gas industries are also major contributors to human rights violations, public health disasters and environmental devastation.

8 March 2020

10 Things You Can Do About Climate Change, According To The Shepherds Of The Paris Agreement

Jeff McMahon
Source Link

Christiana Figueres once credited the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh with helping her shepherd 192 countries from blaming to collaborating, from paralysis to empowerment in the Paris Agreement.

Now Figueres and her strategic advisor, former Buddhist monk Tom Rivett-Carnac, have penned a book that shepherds climate activism from changing mental states to changing the world.

“Throughout our lives we have found that what we do and how we do it is largely determined by how we think,” Figueres told me via email. “While there is never a guarantee of success at any challenge, the chances of success are predicated on our attitude toward that very challenge....

“It is a lesson we learned as we prepared the Paris Agreement, and is a valuable guide for the urgent challenge we are facing this decade."

Why Amazon CEO Je Bezos's $10 bn to fight climate change may not help

Utkarsh Narain & Rohan Seth

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (Reuters Photo)Amazon CEO Je Bezos. (Reuters Photo) Amazon CEO Je Bezos recently announced through an Instagram post that he would donate $ 10 billion from his personal wealth to the newly created Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change. The global initiative will fund scientists, activists and NGOs according to the social media post. However, questions such as when the will the money be disbursed, whether the fund will be a private foundation, a limited liability corporation or a donor-advised fund remain unanswered. In recent years, we are seeing increased instances of giving by mega billionaires. Warren Buet committed a majority of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Mark Zuckerberg also pledged 99 per cent of his Facebook shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, soon aer the birth of his daughter in 2015. 

Billionaires like Infosys’ Nilekanis and Wipro's Azim Premji have signed the ‘Giving Pledge’, committing the majority of their wealth. Bezos, who hasn’t signed the ‘Giving Pledge’ is the latest to jump onto the strategic philanthropy bandwagon. While the individual grant by Bezos is laudable, fighting the adverse eects of climate change will require ‘collective action from big companies, small companies, nation-states, global organizations, and individuals’, as Bezos’s post acknowledges. Thus, to understand the direction the fund takes, it makes sense to analyse the policies and actions of Amazon with regard to climate change over the years. On September 19, 2019, Amazon signed ‘The Climate Pledge’ and committed to achieving the requirements of the Paris Agreement by 2040, ten years in advance of the 2050 deadline. For the record, Amazon releases 128.9 grams CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per dollar (USD) of Gross Merchandise Sales (GMS). Amazon’s total emissions in the fiscal year 2018, equalled an enormous 44.40 Million Metric Tons (mmt) CO2e, according to the Amazon Sustainability Report 2019. 

7 March 2020

REPORT - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Robert N. Stavins

Climate change is a global commons problem and therefore necessitates cooperation at the highest jurisdictional level — that is, international cooperation among national governments — if it is to be adequately addressed. However, both national and subnational governments can significantly advance efforts to mitigate climate change. Provinces and municipalities around the world have indeed undertaken initiatives — sometimes working together across national boundaries — to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. This includes jurisdictions in the largest-emitting countries — China, the United States, and India — as well as in the European Union.

This volume examines subnational climate-change policy in China — including how Chinese provinces and municipalities work with the central government to implement policy. The volume focuses to a considerable degree on carbon-pricing policy in China, including how China’s subnational (pilot) emissions-trading systems can inform the emerging national carbon-pricing system.

1 March 2020

Solidarity Now

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ

ROME – The world is facing a multitude of challenges, from climate change and inequality to the crisis of confidence in our political and economic institutions. The capitalist system itself is undergoing yet another existential crisis, and many countries are facing various trials of their own. The United States is in the grips of an opioid crisis, a childhood diabetes crisis, and a political crisis. China, already struggling to maintain growth in the context of a broader trade and technology war with US President Donald Trump’s administration, is beset by a coronavirus epidemic that threatens to become a pandemic. Argentina is confronting another debt crisis, and mass demonstrations are roiling countries worldwide.

Looming in the background is a deeper ethical crisis that is evident pretty much everywhere. Business leaders, myopically focused on the bottom line, have displayed remarkable moral turpitude. The financial sector has been marked by predatory lending, market manipulation, and abusive consumer-credit practices. Automakers have been caught gaming environmental regulations. The food and beverage industry is knowingly contributing to childhood obesity around the world. Pharmaceutical companies are pushing addictive drugs even as they claim otherwise (while eschewing research into desperately needed new antibiotics).

28 February 2020

Will Climate Change Derail the ‘Asian Century’?

By Andreas Unterstaller

There is a glaring disconnect between climate science and the economic and political narrative of a rising Asia, set to dominate the 21st century. Climate projections now point toward global warming far beyond the 1.5 degree Celsius danger line identified by science. If that happens, Asia’s economic hotspots will be badly affected. This could knock the region off its growth trajectory and put an untimely end to the Asian century.

Just a few years ago, no one could be faulted for predicting that the 21st century would be Asia’s. If anything, it seemed like a safe bet. And, yes, by all fundamental measures, economic and political power has shifted eastward. According to the World Economic Forum, Asia’s combined GDP is set to surpass the combined GDP of the rest of the world in purchasing power parity terms this year.

However, there is one thing that has not been factored in: climate change. If you read the literature about the Asian century, you will rarely come across this term. The world now is already 1°C hotter than in pre-industrial times. There is little doubt that the global average temperature will climb further. If far-reaching greenhouse gas reduction measures are taken now, it may be possible to hold the increase below 2°C. However, it is doubtful whether this will be achieved. If you sum up the current emission reduction pledges made under the Paris agreement, warming of 3°C or more by mid-century seems likely.

26 February 2020

Climate Change and Food Security in the Pacific

SABER SALEM

It is irrefutable that the vast Pacific Ocean with its small island nations are in the frontline of the catastrophic climate change which is already threatening food security where the majority of the people depend on the sea for food and on subsistence agriculture. Traditionally, Pacific Island diet consisted of fish, seafood and root crops such as taro, cassava, yams and sweet potatoes and in many rural communities of the region, fish is the only source of animal protein. Now with rising sea-levels, salt water inundation of agricultural land, frequency of cyclones and other climate-change-related-disasters, this livelihood on which 70% of the region’s population depends on is under threat and is one of the causes of chronic hunger and malnutrition in the region (WFP and SPC, 2018). Access to food and availability of food in the market are the two important components of measuring food security (Aliber and Mini, 2010 quoted in Masipa, 2017). Thus, from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) perspective, food security means “food availability, food access and food use”. According to HSRC, food availability means there is adequate amount of quality food in the market which people can easily access and utilise. Food access “refers to the ability of the nation and its households to acquire sufficient food on a sustainable basis” (Masipa, 2017).

Human Vulnerability to Climate Change

MICHELA BORZONI,

It seems somewhat of a paradox, to suggest catastrophic and irreparable damage to humans and natural systems from global environmental changes need not result in catastrophic and irreparable damage to humans, although catastrophic and irreparable damage to humans arise from even modest changes in natural systems (Heltberg et al., 2009). Minimizing human vulnerability to environmental changes is largely determined by the extent to which groups of humans (societies) can develop and organize themselves, to render themselves susceptible or resilient to changes, which refers to the extent to which societies can manage the impacts from hazardous events or disturbance trends in social, economic and environmental systems (Lahsen et al., 2010; IPCC, 2014 :40). Whilst literature on the impact, adaptation and vulnerability (IAV) to humans from environmental changes has increased two-fold between 2005 and 2010, to 234,823 publications worldwide, the geographical diversity of authorship is limited (IPCC, 2014 :38). Since 1980, only five percent of IAV publications were published in Africa and Latin America, an area which is often said to be “especially exposed and vulnerable” to the impacts of environmental changes (Lahsen et al., 2010). Geographic-specific research on IAV issues allows policymakers to enhance societal measures on resilience, which aim to reduce human vulnerability to environmental changes, however, countries in this region have either

Human Vulnerability to Climate Change

MICHELA BORZONI

It seems somewhat of a paradox, to suggest catastrophic and irreparable damage to humans and natural systems from global environmental changes need not result in catastrophic and irreparable damage to humans, although catastrophic and irreparable damage to humans arise from even modest changes in natural systems (Heltberg et al., 2009). Minimizing human vulnerability to environmental changes is largely determined by the extent to which groups of humans (societies) can develop and organize themselves, to render themselves susceptible or resilient to changes, which refers to the extent to which societies can manage the impacts from hazardous events or disturbance trends in social, economic and environmental systems (Lahsen et al., 2010; IPCC, 2014 :40). Whilst literature on the impact, adaptation and vulnerability (IAV) to humans from environmental changes has increased two-fold between 2005 and 2010, to 234,823 publications worldwide, the geographical diversity of authorship is limited (IPCC, 2014 :38). Since 1980, only five percent of IAV publications were published in Africa and Latin America, an area which is often said to be “especially exposed and vulnerable” to the impacts of environmental changes (Lahsen et al., 2010). Geographic-specific research on IAV issues allows policymakers to enhance societal measures on resilience, which aim to reduce human vulnerability to environmental changes, however, countries in this region have either been less willing or unable to conduct such research comparable to other regions. Environmental vulnerability is commonly defined as the extent to which humans, and the things they value, are exposed to environmental changes, are sensitive to this exposure, and the degree to which they can adapt to these changes, in which, various studies have found vulnerability in Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia are increasing (IPCC, 2014 :39;

Why Do Donald Trump and Millions of Americans Think Climate Change is a Lie?

by Jérôme Viala-Gaudefroy
Source Link

The reason? A handful of countries blocked significant action, in particular the United States, Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia, while China and India conveniently used the pretext of the historical responsibility of rich nations as an excuse for doing nothing.

A month before the COP25, President Trump formally confirmed the exit of the United States from the Paris climate agreement – just one policy change among more than 90 others aimed at rolling back environmental regulations. Because the United States is still the most powerful country in the world whose president has the most media coverage, this has created a toxic “Trump effect” that has weakened the credibility of international commitments and emboldened others, especially populists and nationalists, to shirk their responsibilities.

But how much do the aggressively anti-environmental actions of a minority president actually reflect American public opinion?

Even though Americans are less likely to be concerned about climate change than the rest of the world (by at least about 10 to 20 percentage points), a majority (59%) still see it as a serious threat – a 17-point increase in six years (Pew Research). But the devil is in the details. Only about 27% of Republicans say climate change is a major threat, compared with 83% of Democrats, a 56-percentage point difference!


Global concerns about climate change. Pew Research CenterGlobal Threats. Pew Research Center

Climate skepticism/denial exists in other Western democracies, mostly among right-wing populists, but even by comparison, the American Republicans are the least likely to see it as a major threat.

This in turn raises another question: why are American Republicans more skeptical about climate change than right-wing voters in other countries? The first reason has to do with polarization in politics and identity.

Alabama becomes the first U.S. state to enact an anti-trust law.

President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.

Polarization

American polarization has deep roots in racial, religious and ideological divisions and can be traced back to the reaction of conservatives to the cultural, social and political transformations of the 1960s and 1970s. This polarization eventually made its way into politics in the 1980s and, even more so, in the 1990s when it became a ‘culture war.’ As global warming emerged on the US national agenda, it became one of those divisive hot-button issues in the culture war, along with abortion, gun control, health care, race, women and LGBTQ’s rights.

The fact that progressive Democrats took on the issue of global warming early on – former vice president Al Gore was a leading voice on the issue – and that the solutions they offered had to do with statist measure such as carbon taxes, a cap-and-trade system, or energy rationing resulted in further politicization of the issue.

In 2001, then-president George W. Bush withdrew from the Kyoto protocol asserting that it would be too costly for the US economy. And in 2010, the Tea Party movement solidified Republican hostility toward the climate-change issue, preventing Congress from passing a cap-and-trade bill. It came as no surprise then when Donald Trump’s comment that climate change was a “concept created by the Chinese” to make “US manufacturing non-competitive” did little to damage his 2016 presidential campaign.


Twitter.

Indeed, his criticism of the Paris accord as being “very, very expensive”, “unfair”, “job killing” and “income-killing” clearly resonated with his electorate.

As much as Donald Trump’s political strategy has been to intensify polarization and to appeal to his base, he is more the symptom than the deeper cause of this polarization. Undeniably, the measures needed to curb greenhouse-gas emissions imply government intervention and internationally binding treaties that go against the conservatives’ ideals of individual freedom, limited government and free markets.

Trust and mistrust

More than most other issues, our acceptance of the human impact on climate change is contingent on our trust in science and environmental scientists. For most of us, It is a matter of trust and not intelligence since we cannot do the science ourselves. Americans of all stripes generally trust scientists (86%), except for environmental research where there is a 30-point gap between Republicans and Democrats, a gap – more surprisingly – that is persistent among those with high science knowledge.



Pew Research Center

Trust in government is also highly partisan, but Republicans have tended to be more specifically wary of international institutions. For instance, only 43% of Republicans have a favorable view of the United Nations compared to 80% of Democrats. There are fringe conservatives, like Alex Jones or members of the John Birch Society the alt-right who want to “get out of the UN.”


In many ways, Donald Trump’s “America first” nationalist slogan is a rejection of international institutions, internationalism and cosmopolitanism – something he made clear at the the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2018.

Anti-intellectualism and anti-science

Americans have always tended to distrust the government, the elite and expertise. This is nothing new. In his 1964 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, Richard Hofstadter identified two sources of American anti-intellectual sentiment: business, which he depicted as unreflective, and religion, particularly evangelicalism. With its market-oriented, pro-business, and pro-religious agenda, the Republican party is naturally more distrustful of intellectuals and academics, including scientists.

This is fertile ground for right-wing think-tanks and lobbyists to sow doubt in the minds of conservatives who have a cognitive bias against climate change. And there has been no shortage of those, from the Global Climate Coalition, the Koch brothers to the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the fossil-fuel industry or the Heartland Institute. In Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway have shown how these groups use a strategy questioning scientific research similar to that used by the tobacco industry in the 1970s and 1980s.

For a long time, these pressure groups allies in the American press that more often portrayed climate science as “uncertain” than the press in other developed nations. More significantly, Fox News has been the true echo chamber of climate-change deniers. The result is that Fox News viewers are less likely to accept the science of global warming and climate change. And now, the social media have only made the situation worse. A recent study found that videos challenging the scientific consensus on climate change were outnumbered by those that supported it. Then there is Donald Trump who has, since becoming president, attacked the scientists in his own administration by censoring their findings, shutting down government studies and pressuring scientists (full report available here) to reflect his own thinking on the issue.

Confronted with the reality of natural disasters and rising temperatures, most Republicans no longer deny climate change, rather they deny that humans are responsible, and warn that it will affect the economy.

The Frontier myth of an endless economic bonanza

When confronted by journalists about climate change, President Trump diverts the questions by focusing on the immediate benefits are more concrete than potential, vague, long-term gains, as he did during his news conference with President Macron of France in Biarritz, in August 2019.

This idea that nature offers vast untapped reserves that will yield perpetual and painless growth is evocative of what historian Richard Slotkin called the Frontier’s “bonanza economics”. It is an old American story that back to the Puritans: that the wilderness had to be conquered and transformed, that the Anglo-Saxon race was defined by its ability to exploit it, which also justified the displacement of indigenous people who did not work the land.

In this story, the president becomes the Frontier hero who ventures into the wilderness (of nature and politics) to transform it. His professed love for “beautiful clean coal” not only pleases his voters in coal-mining states, it also taps into the belief that nature is first and foremost an infinite provider of wealth that will contribute to the prosperity of all Americans. From Alaska to Minnesota, the Trump administration is all about easing restrictions on drilling, logging and mining at the expense of the protection of the land.

Yet there is another quintessentially American approach to nature. One that sees the presence of the divine in nature and has acknowledged the exhaustability of land and resources. One that is reflected in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, in the paintings of the Hudson River School, and in the activism of John Muir. It is also ingrained in the politics of Theodore Roosevelt, who used the ethos of the Frontier for his conservationist policies. If values trump facts, maybe this is the American story that today’s conservatives should embrace.

17 February 2020

Earth just had hottest January since records began, data shows

Oliver Milman

Last month was the hottest January on record over the world’s land and ocean surfaces, with average temperatures exceeding anything in the 141 years of data held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The record temperatures in January follow an exceptionally warm 2019, which has been ranked as the second hottest year for the planet’s surface since reliable measurements started. The past five years and the past decade are the hottest in 150 years of record-keeping, an indication of the gathering pace of the climate crisis.

According to Noaa, the average global land and ocean surface temperature last month was 2.5F (or 1.14C) above the 20th-century average. This measurement marginally surpassed the previous January record, set in 2016.

A pulse of unusual warmth was felt across much of Russia, Scandinavia and eastern Canada, where temperatures were an incredible 9F (5C) above average, or higher. The Swedish town of Örebro reached 10.3C, its hottest January temperature since 1858, while Boston experienced its hottest ever January day, at 23C (74F).