2020 tied with 2016 as world’s hottest year, EU says

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Last year tied with 2016 as the world’s warmest year on record, rounding off the hottest decade globally as the impacts of climate change intensified, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said on Friday.

After an exceptionally warm winter and autumn in Europe, the continent experienced its hottest year on record in 2020, while the Arctic suffered extreme heat and atmospheric concentrations of planet-warming carbon dioxide continued to rise.

Scientists said the latest data underscored the need for countries and corporations to slash greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to bring within reach the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement to avoid catastrophic climate change, Aljazeera said.

“The extraordinary climate events of 2020 and the data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service show us that we have no time to lose,” said Matthias Petschke, director for space in the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. The bloc’s space programmes include the Copernicus earth observation satellites.

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In 2020, temperatures globally were an average of 1.25 degrees Celsius (2.25 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than in pre-industrial times, Copernicus said. The last six years were the world’s hottest on record.

The Paris accord aims to cap the rise in temperatures to “well below” 2C (3.6F) and as close as possible to 1.5C (2.7F) to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.

“The key here is to … reduce the amount we emit,” Copernicus senior scientist Freja Vamborg told Reuters news agency.

Last year also saw the highest temperature ever reliably recorded, when in August a California heatwave pushed the temperature at Death Valley in the Mojave Desert up to 54.4C (129.92F).

“The key here is to … reduce the amount we emit,” Copernicus senior scientist Freja Vamborg told Reuters news agency.

Last year also saw the highest temperature ever reliably recorded, when in August a California heatwave pushed the temperature at Death Valley in the Mojave Desert up to 54.4C (129.92F).