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AKIPRESS.COM - Last year was the fourth warmest on record and the outlook is for more sizzling heat approaching levels that most governments view as dangerous for the Earth, a U.N. report said.
Weather extremes in 2018 included wildfires in California and Greece, drought in South Africa and floods in Kerala, India. Record levels of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, trap ever more heat, Reuters reported.
Average global surface temperatures were 1.0 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times in 2018, the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said, based on data from U.S., British, Japanese and European weather agencies.
“The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. “The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years.”
To combat warming, almost 200 governments adopted the Paris climate agreement in 2015 to phase out the use of fossil fuels and limit the rise in temperatures to 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times while “pursuing efforts” for 1.5C (2.7F).
“The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt - in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.