Past eight years were hottest on record: UN Secretary General

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The past eight years are on track to be the hottest ever recorded, a United Nations report has found, and UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that the planet was sending “a distress signal”.

The UN’s weather and climate body released its annual state of the global climate report on Sunday with another warning that the target to limit temperature increases to 1.5C (2.7F) was “barely within reach”, amid warnings of rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions.

Global temperature

The global temperature is now estimated to be around 1.15C higher than between 1850 and 1900, according to a report from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The annual State of the Global Climate report added that this year alone could be the fifth warmest on record.

Speaking ahead of the Cop27 summit in Egypt, Antonio Guterres said: ‘We must answer the planet’s distress signal with action – ambitious, credible climate action. Cop27 must be the place – and now must be the time.’

The Earth’s temperature is entering dangerous territory, with the UK hitting 40C for the first time.

Greenhouse gases

At the summit, nations attempt to take action to reduce greenhouse gases, which result from burning oil, coal, gas farming and deforestation. But the three main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have all risen to record levels, the report said.

At current rates, the Earth will warm by 2.6-2.8c by 2100, UN scientists warn. The WMO report shows 2022 will likely be the fifth or sixth warmest year on record.

It would be warmer if it were not for a weather phenomenon called La Nina, which has cooled global temperatures for the past two years.

European Alps

Detailing the devastation to glaciers, the report said glaciers in the European Alps, lost on average three to four meters of ice thickness throughout the mountain range – substantially more than the previous record year of 2003.

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