Marrakech: The year 2016 is testimony to the fact that climate change is indeed real and those claiming otherwise, are living in ignorance.
However, the latest facts, figures and statistics will have even the ignorant few pay attention. As per the World Metrological Organisation (WMO), the global temperature in 2016 has been recorded as being 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level, thereby setting a new high for the third year running.
Moreover, WMO confirmed that 2016 has been the hottest year on record, with 2015 as a close second and 2014 taking the third place.
"Another year. Another record," said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas while releasing the report at the Marrakech climate change negotiations at COP22.
He said the extra heat from powerful El Nino phenomenon has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue.
At the environmental meet on November 8, the WMO informed the parties and non-parties that while 2015 was the warmest year so far, 2016 is on track of being even warmer. On Monday, it confirmed its prediction.
The WMO said these alarming trends have resulted in ten-fold increase in "extreme events" globally, that is, catastrophic events such as cyclones, heatwaves, floods and droughts have become frequent in 10-year cycle rather than 100-year cycle.
This report has added to the challenges ahead of the the major goal of the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement (COP21), that aims at keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees.
"On the day the WMO confirmed that 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record, it is shocking the world has been largely silent on one of the biggest-ever global climate emergencies. This year, over 400 million people were affected by the strongest ever 'El Nino' weather event, causing droughts around the world," ActionAid climate change policy expert Teresa Anderson said in response to the report.
Anderson said the impacts of El Nino confirm the need for the world to take urgent action on climate change, which affects women and children the worst.
The El Nino weather phenomenon helped push temperatures even higher in early 2016 but the global warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities remains the strongest factor.
According to the 2015 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, approximately 44 per cent of the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by human activity from 2004 to 2015 remained in the atmosphere, with the remaining 56 per cent removed by oceans and the terrestrial biosphere.
(With IANS inputs)