A new report released Tuesday finds that the planet is headed for one of the warmest years on record.
A report released by the World Meteorological Organisation says the planet will record its tenth warmest year on record, and the warmest year during the latest La Nina cycle.
The global average temperature through October was about 0.41 of a degree Celsius (0.74 of a degree Fahrenheit) above the average of 14 degrees from 1961 to 1990, the WMO said today in a statement released at the United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa. The latest report shows the 13 warmest years on record occurred in the last 15 years. The organization began keeping records records in 1850.
“The science is solid and proves unequivocally that the world is warming,” said R.D.J. Lengoasa, deputy director of the World Meteorological Organization, and human activity is a significant contributor.
The report comes as nearly 200 nations are gathered for U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa. The meeting in Durban is tasked with trying to reach agreement on cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Prospects for a meaningful agreement appear bleak with the biggest emitters the United States and China unwilling to take on binding cuts until the other does first. Meanwhile, reports noted early Monday that Canada was prepared to remove itself from the Kyoto Protocol, largely seen as the most effective means of limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
The WMO said the increase in greenhouse gas emissions has contributed to extreme weather conditions which increase the intensity of droughts and heavy precipitation across the world.
“This kind of unseasonable events are the types of abnormal events that we will be seeing more and more due to climate change,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change.
Some nations, mostly wealthy ones, have made voluntary commitments to reduce their emissions. The United States, for example, has agreed to take its emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.