Humans are heating the earth faster than ever before

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According to a report published by the University of Leeds on Wednesday, global temperatures have risen by 0.26 degrees Celsius in the past ten years—more than at any time since records began. The current decade could bring a reversal – depending on how politicians and society decide.

According to a report, man-made global warming is increasing faster than at any time since instrumental records began. In the past decade alone (2014–2023), the temperature has risen by around 0.26°C due to human activities, writes a team in the “Indicators of Global Climate Change” (IGCC) report, which was published on Wednesday. This is a recording with measuring devices dating back to the 19th century.

A decade earlier (2004–2013), the international group led by Piers Forster from the University of Leeds reported a warming of around 0.20 degrees. On the one hand, the increase is due to high greenhouse gas emissions – on average, humans have produced greenhouse gases with a climate impact of around 53 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year over the past decade. On the other hand, the amount of cooling aerosols in the atmosphere has decreased, according to the report published in the journal “Earth System Science Data.”. For example, the level of sulphate aerosols has fallen sharply as a result of a new regulation for cleaner marine fuels.

Influence of “El Nino” in 2023
Compared to the period 1850–1900, man-made warming averaged 1.19 degrees in the past decade (2014–2023). One year earlier (2013 to 2022), the decade average was slightly lower at 1.14 degrees.

In the single year 2023, the increase in the Earth’s temperature caused by human activities alone reached 1.31 degrees compared to 1850–1900, according to the calculations. This is less than the total warming of 1.43 degrees in the same year, which indicates that natural climate fluctuations also played a role in the record temperature in that year, in particular, the climate phenomenon El Niño.

Fewer CO2 emissions
According to the report, humans can only produce approximately 200 billion tons of CO2 before global warming reaches 1.5 degrees. This is roughly equivalent to five years of current emissions. However, the estimate ranges from 100 to 450 billion tons.

A small ray of hope: There is evidence “that the increase in CO2 emissions has slowed in the past decade compared to the 2000s,” writes the team of authors. Depending on societal decisions, the current decade could bring a reversal of some of the report’s figures.

Temperatures continue to rise
“Our analysis shows that human-induced global warming has continued to increase over the past year, even though climate action has slowed the rise in greenhouse gas emissions,” said first author Forster. “Global temperatures are still moving in the wrong direction, and faster than ever before.”

The IGCC report was launched in 2023. The authoritative source of scientific climate information is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), writes the University of Leeds. However, as the IPCC does not intend to publish a major assessment until around 2027, there is a gap that the report should fill. This time, it was compiled by a 57-member research team from 42 institutions in 15 countries.

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