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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020
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This year is going to be the hottest ever recorded and "time is running out"

Me mind on fire, me soul on fire…

Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE YEAR 2015 is shaping up to be the hottest on record, the UN’s weather agency says, days before a UN summit opens in Paris to craft a climate rescue pact.

Based on data for the first 10 months of the year, “We feel very confident… that 2015 will be the warmest year on record,” said Michel Jarraud, head of the World Meteorological Organisation.

The WMO said land and sea temperatures were likely to surpass those of 2014 as the highest since record-keeping began.

“This is all bad news for the planet,” Jarraud told reporters in Geneva.

The UN agency usually waits to have a full year’s worth of data before drawing such conclusions but said it wanted its preliminary findings “to inform negotiators at the UN Climate Change Conference.”

More than 145 world leaders are set to gather in Paris from Monday for a conference seeking to cap average global warming at two degrees Celsius above mid-19th century levels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday insisted the Paris agreement must include “a binding review mechanism under international law” to make sure countries’ carbon-curbing actions are ramped up until the two degrees target comes into focus.

Based on current voluntary pledges, Earth is on track for three degrees.

‘Time is running out’

Alarmingly, WMO said the global average surface temperature would this year pass “the symbolic and significant milestone” of one degree Celcius above the pre-industrial era.

According to Jarraud, “we have already warmed the atmosphere by more than half.

“This is of great concern,” he said, and pointed out that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere broke a new record this year.

These gases can remain in the atmosphere for centuries and will continue warming the climate long after emissions are cut.

“Time is really not on our side,” Jarraud said. The two degree target remained achievable, but “the more we wait to take action, the more difficult it will be.”

In the first nine months of 2015, global ocean heat content in both the upper 700 metres (2,300 feet) and 2,000 metres hit record highs, it said.

Sea levels in the first half of the year, meanwhile, appeared to be “the highest since satellite observations became available in 1993.”

Read: Shocking photo of emaciated polar bear goes viral

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