https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-16/ ... o/11872344Australia has 'hottest, driest' year on record as 2019 named second-hottest year worldwide, says WMO
Last year was the Earth's second hottest since records began, and the world should brace itself for more extreme weather events like the devastating bushfires that have hit much of Australia, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
The Geneva-based WMO combined several datasets, including two from the US space administration NASA and the UK Met Office.
These showed that the average global temperature in 2019 was 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, creeping towards a globally agreed limit after which major changes to life on Earth are expected.
"Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fuelled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. ...
Governments agreed at the 2015 Paris Accord to cap fossil fuel emissions enough to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels — after which global warming is expected to be so severe that it will all but wipe out the world's coral reefs and most Arctic sea ice.
However, the WMO has previously said that much greater temperature rises — of 3C to 5C — can be expected if nothing is done to stop the rise in harmful emissions, which hit a new record in 2018.
The United States — the world's top historic greenhouse gas emitter and leading oil and gas producer — began the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement last year. ...
About that "globally agreed limit after which major changes to life on Earth are expected" - I reckon the limit was a political call aimed at boosting enthusiasm for action, and that the "major changes" are here already, particularly in the forms of extinctions and extreme weather events.
But that's partly a matter of perception, of course. If I lived on a coral atoll I would be in no doubt at all, because rising sea levels would be making me a climate refugee. If I lived in the middle of Europe, I might be vaguely aware that our weather had been a bit warm lately ...