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As climate scientists gather in Japan, UN reports 2013 was sixth warmest year on record

Date
25 March 2014
As climate scientists gather in Japan, UN reports 2013 was sixth warmest year on record

LONDON: 13 of the 14 warmest years ever recorded happened during this century, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reported.

The annual report which documents global temperature changes, acknowledged that 2013 was the sixth warmest year (tied with 2007) since international records began in 1850. Furthermore, the period from 2001-2010 was found to be the hottest decade on record.

Countries in the southern hemisphere such as Australia and Argentina are experiencing significant temperature rises, with 2013 being Australia’s hottest year on record, Argentina’s second hottest and New Zealand’s third, WMO data highlights.

Tragic events such as Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and the monsoon rains and flooding of the India-Nepal border are noted in the Agency’s statement, which provides a comprehensive overview of the alarming nature of climate change over the last 12 months.

The statement recognizes that the large-scale weather disasters which the world has witnessed over the last year are 'consistent' with what scientists expected human-induced climate change to look like.

WMO Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud, cautioned: “There is no standstill in global warming. Levels of these greenhouse gases are at record levels, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come. The laws of physics are non-negotiable.”

Government action

Seperately, a UN endorsed study found that 62 countries have flagship legislation to tackle climate change.

The report, which was co-authored by Globe International and the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute, draws on data from 66 countries that together are responsible for 88% of global emissions.

When commenting on the report’s findings, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres stressed that there is still time to mitigate the damage climate change is inducing on a global scale. She said: “We can act to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but time is running out. Capturing our opportunity to stabilize the climate system, achieve the internationally agreed goal of limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius and safeguard development for future generations requires immediate action by leaders in every country and every sector.”

New IPCC report

The WMO repot comes as the world's top climate scientists gather in Japan to discuss the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) long-awaited release of the second installment of its Fifth Assesment Report on Monday, which will underscore the impacts a changing climate will have on resources, growth and securityThe report follows last year's first part on the 'Physical Science Basis', which says humans are to blame for climate change.

Speaking live at a Climate Week NYC event last September by video link from Stockholm, hours after finishing writing and releasing the AR5 report, Nathan Bindoff, Professor of Physical Oceanography and Climate Change and Ocean Processes program leader, University of Tasmania said: “There are a few aspects that don’t allow us to say 100%, but what we can say is that the signal is more than 95% that man is the cause of global warming." He added: “Humans are the predominant cause of changes in the climate system.”

The Climate Group published a five-part briefing series covering the basics of climate science ahead of the broadcast. Read them here.

Related News: 

Leaders agree climate science ‘is beyond argument’

EU Parliament agrees to back a stronger 30% renewable energy by 2030 target

Damian Ryan: COP19 keeps us on track for a climate deal in Paris, if countries use 2014 wisely

By Alana Ryan

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