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The world is hot – and getting hotter 

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Posted: Friday, September 18, 2020. 1:33 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Loop Jamaica reports that the United Nations and World Meteorological Organization say Earth is getting dangerously close to its temperature limit. 

In the next five years, there is a near 25 percent chance of a year hot enough to put global temperatures above the agreed-on limit of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. 

The September 9 report was the UN’s annual update on “climate disruption” caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas. It highlighted more than just increasing temperatures and rising sea levels. 

“Record heat, ice loss, wildfires, floods, and droughts continue to worsen, affecting communities, nations, and economies around the world,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in a foreword. 

A 2018 UN science report said a world hotter than that still survives, but chances of dangerous problems increase tremendously. 

The evidence is all around us: scorching heat, record California wildfires, ever-earlier Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes. Earlier this year, Death Valley hit 130 degrees (54.4 degrees Celsius) and Siberia hit 100 degrees (38 degrees Celsius). 

The world already has warmed nearly two degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 1800s and the last five years are hotter than the previous five years, the report said. The speed-up could be temporary, or it might not be. 

There’s both man-made warming and natural warming from a strong El Nino weather pattern in the past five years, said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. 

“The probability of 1.5 degrees (Celsius) is growing year by year,” Taalas told The Associated Press. “It’s very likely to happen in the next decade if we don’t change our behavior.” 

That’s potentially faster than what a 2018 UN report found: that the world was likely to hit 1.5 degrees sometime between 2030 and 2052. 

So far, this year is the second hottest on record and has a 37 percent chance of surpassing the global record set in 2016, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Carbon dioxide emissions will be down four percent to seven percent this year because of reduced travel and industrial activities during the coronavirus pandemic, but the heat-trapping gas stays in the air for a century so the levels in the atmosphere continue to go up, Taalas said. And, he added, so will the warming. 

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