lunes, mayo 27

Humans ‘never experienced a world so hot in modern history,’ scientists say – POLITICO

July is on track to become the world’s hottest month on record — with some scientists saying the planet may be experiencing its warmest period in about 120,000 years.  

The finding, announced by the World Meteorological Organization and the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service on Thursday, comes as G20 climate ministers travel to India for talks on how to curb planet-warming emissions. 

“The soaring temperatures this July clearly demonstrate what we already know. The devastating effects of global warming are a reality,” said Denmark’s Climate Minister Dan Jørgensen. 

“We are not on the right track, but the G20 countries hold the power to change the course,» he added. «I strongly urge them to use that power.” 

Last weekend, however, G20 energy ministers were unable to reach an agreement on phasing down fossil fuels and setting a global renewables goal. Friday’s talks in the eastern Indian city of Chennai aren’t expected to yield a breakthrough, either. 

“All indications out of the working group discussions that are making final preparations for that meeting is that they will fail to agree on more ambitious climate action,” said Alden Meyer, senior associate at think tank E3G. 

On Thursday, the WMO said that Copernicus data shows the first three weeks of July were the warmest three-week period on record, with July also set to become the hottest month overall. 

The mean for the first 23 days of July was 16.96 degrees Celsius — so far above the previous record of 16.63C logged in July 2019 that Copernicus climate director Carlo Buontempo said even without waiting for the end of the month, it is «virtually certain that the month as a whole will become the warmest month on record.»

He added: «In all likelihood, we have never experienced a world so hot in modern history.»

On July 6, the global daily average temperature hit a record 17.08C. All days since have surpassed the previous record of 16.8C set in August 2016, according to Copernicus. 

“Of course, global mean temperature doesn’t kill anyone,” said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London. But at the local level, “a hottest July ever manifests in extreme weather events around the globe.” 

Large parts of the Northern Hemisphere saw long periods of dangerous heat this month, with wildfires killing dozens across the Mediterranean. Violent storms and extreme rainfall brought devastation to other parts of the world. 

“This is not an accident … that these are all happening while we are having this hottest July ever,” Otto said. 

Earlier this week, a study co-authored by Otto found the heat waves scorching the Northern Hemisphere this month to be an undeniable result of man-made climate change. 

In the first and third week of July, the global average temperature also temporarily surpassed 1.5C above preindustrial levels, according to Copernicus estimates. However, this does not breach the Paris Agreement threshold, which aims to limit global warming to a long-term temperature change of 1.5C. 

A separate analysis published Thursday by Leipzig University climate scientist Karsten Haustein also found that July was set to become the hottest month on record. 

Haustein said that the last time the Earth consistently reached temperatures seen this July was likely during the Eemian period, about 120,000 years ago. 

Although proper record-keeping began only in the 1800s, “we have paleoclimatic data, and they go back millions of years,” he said. “And it’s likely that the Eemian … was the last time it was this warm. So there’s a decent chance that this month is essentially the warmest since.”

Together, the G20 economies produce about 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber and U.N. climate chief Simon Stiell noted in a joint statement on Thursday. 

Last weekend’s energy ministers’ meeting in the Indian state of Goa “did not provide a sufficiently clear signal for transforming global energy systems, scaling up renewable and clean energy sources and responsibly phasing down fossil fuels,” they wrote. “We must leave Chennai on the right path and with a clear signal that the political will to tackle the climate crisis is there.” 

Major fossil fuel producers in the G20 — like Saudi Arabia, Russia and China — oppose language to set a global goal to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030, as proposed by the COP28 presidency and the EU. 

Countries also disagree on language for a fossil fuel phasedown. Both issues are shaping up to become key battlegrounds at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai, which start November 30.

“If you can’t get consensus on key issues out of the G20, it’s hard to see how you will get them out of 190-plus countries a few months from now in Dubai,» said E3G analyst Meyer. “It’s pretty troubling.” 

Giovanna Coi contributed reporting.