Ending the era of global warming is the beginning of “global boiling,” as said by the UN secretary general, António Guterres. Scientists confirmed July 2023 was on track to be the world’s hottest month on record. Rising temperatures might be cruel to North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe, but they are devastating for the entire planet.
A climate scientist, Dr. Karsten Haustein, was the first to confirm the new record.
On Thursday, July 27, 2023, international climate scientists confirmed the record-breaking average global mean temperature. The confirmation included input from experts at the World Meteorological Organisation and the European Copernicus Climate Change Service. This confirmation was based on weather datasets and analysis. “We are in absolutely new record territory,” as said by Dr. Karsten Haustein.
The Record-Breaking Average Global Mean Temperature Has Created an Alarming Situation for Scientists.
The international climate scientists reported that July 6 suppressed the record for the daily average global mean surface air temperature set in August 2016. Followed by July 5 and July 7. In the first and third weeks of July, the global mean temperature temporarily exceeded the 1.5°C threshold above the preindustrial level.
As stated by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres “We don’t have to wait for the end of the month to know that July 2023 will be the hottest July and also the hottest month on record”.
Guterres said, “Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning.”. He further stated, It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 C [above pre-industrial levels] and avoid the very worst of climate change. But only with dramatic, immediate climate action.”
Climate scientists have highlighted this alarming situation for weeks. Now, it is official that July 2023 is expected to be the hottest month on record in 120,000 years.
Extreme Weather Events Worldwide: Manifested by the Increase in Global Heat
Since late spring, Southern Europe, Asia, North Africa, and the southern US have experienced relentless heatwaves. Most of the country received temperatures as high as 37 °C for weeks.
In Phoenix, Arizona, the temperature reached 43 °C for 19 days in a row this month. Moreover, on July 16, China set a new national temperature record of 52.2 °C in Xinjiang province.
In the past few days, wildfires have exploded across Greece, Italy, Algeria, and Croatia.
More than 1,000 wildfires have been set in Canada, doubling the amount from four weeks ago and destroying an area of around 46,000 square miles—exactly half the size of the UK.
The intense heat is not only limited to wildfires but is also playing out in extreme, erratic rainfall. This has led to deadly flash flooding in China, Brazil, the north-east of the US, and South Korea.
The July 2023 Record Brings a Public Health Warning
Heatwaves are the deadliest of all climate-driven calamities and are known as “silent killers”. It was recorded that last year in Europe, 60,000 deaths were reported due to extreme temperatures.
Dr. Marina Romanello, a health researcher and climate change scientist, expressed her concern about the record heat. According to her, it is rapidly undermining the foundations of health and placing more burdens on many countries’ already overstretched healthcare systems.
People over 65 are at increased risk of heat-related mortality. In the past 20 years, it has risen by about two-thirds, and exposure to wildfires has increased in 60% of countries.
Compared to the 1950s, drought has affected almost a third of the global land area annually. South America and the Horn of Africa are particularly vulnerable regions.
These conditions are driving tens of millions more people into the food crisis.
Direct Consequences of the Burning and Extraction of Oil, Coal, and Gas: The July Climate Crisis
New global temperature records this month are reported by the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation program and the WMO. These records are direct consequences of fossil fuel burning, causing violent weather.
Greenhouses around the Earth cause a rise in global average temperatures. This greenhouse gas is driven by a pollutant that traps sunlight, hence making the weather conditions extremely worse.
Dr. Catherine Abreu, executive director of Destination Zero, called out major players in oil, gas, coal, and cement. She stated the fossil fuel industry has long known about their products’ impacts on the planet.
“The hottest month on record is a direct result of the burning and extraction of coal, oil, and gas,” she added, raising alarms.
However, scientists alone raising alarms is not enough; politicians and the corporate sector also need to take the initiative to tackle the global crisis.
Dr. Catherine further added, “We need to accelerate the clean energy transition to draw back from this runaway climate crisis.”
The global fossil fuel industry made profits of more than $4 trillion in 2022, yet there are hardly any efforts to transform oil and gas into clean energy. Moreover, progress is grindingly slow at the geopolitical level.
Last weekend’s meeting of energy ministers from the world’s 20 richest countries worsened the situation. They failed to reach consensus on cutting down on fossil fuels. Moreover, even the last year’s commitments were not met.
Dr. Romanello further elaborated that many governments are still prioritizing and subsidizing the oil and gas industry over healthcare. She further reported that in the majority of the 86 countries creating the bulk of global emissions, the net cost of fossil fuel subsidies is $400 billion. Their loss exceeds what they spent on healthcare.
The new July record raises further concerns that 2023 could be the hottest year in human history.
WMO Predicts the Likelihood that At least One of the Next Five Years Will Be the Warmest on Record
According to the WMO, there is a 66% chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5°C for at least one of the five years.
Guterres has urged politicians to take swift action, stating, “The air is unbreathable, the heat is unbearable, and the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable.” Leaders must lead.”
“No more hesitancy, no more excuses, no more waiting for others to move first. There is simply no more time for that.”
Joyce Kimutai, a climate scientist, made a statement about extreme weather events: “Bigger and stronger extreme weather events were causing havoc worldwide.”
She emphasized that these events were particularly impacting poorer countries, which are least responsible for emissions.
In November, world leaders are meeting in the United Arab Emirates to agree on ways to stop the planet from warming. The meeting further aims to adapt to more extreme weather and pay for the damage.
Sultan Al Jaber, the head of the country’s national oil company and the president of the Cop28 summit, said this month that phasing down fossil fuels was “inevitable and essential”.