CARBON | WEATHER

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Scientists urge emission cuts as Jan sets new heat record

(Montel) The need for swift reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is imperative to halt the continued rise in global temperatures as 2024 kicked off with record-breaking temperatures, said the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service on Thursday.

“Not only is it the warmest January [globally] on record but we have also just experienced a 12-month period of more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial reference period,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus, in a statement.

“Rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are the only way to stop global temperatures increasing.”

Surface air temperature stood at an average 13.14C for January, surpassing the previous record set in 2020 by 0.12C.

Alarming trend
This milestone continues a trend observed over the past eight months, with each successive month breaking records for its respective time of year, according to Copernicus.

Comparisons to pre-industrial levels are alarming, with January 2024 registering 1.66C warmer than the estimated average for 1850-1900, it added.

January was wetter than average in large parts of Europe, with storms impacting north and southwestern Europe, it said.

However, drier than average conditions were seen in southeastern and northern Spain, southern UK, Ireland, eastern Iceland, most of Scandinavia, part of northwestern Russia and the eastern Balkans, it said.

Warmer temperatures are expected to drive increased demand for cooling, leading to higher energy consumption and potentially more fossil fuel usage.