New Global Data: 2020 Second Hottest Year on Record

15.01.21 By
This content is more than 3 years old

2020 was the second hottest year on record, cementing the last decade as the hottest on record globally, as climate change continues to accelerate.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has confirmed the global average temperature for 2020 was +0.98°C above the 20th century average, and only 0.02˚C shy of the previous record set in 2016.

“It’s remarkable that despite La Niña conditions, 2020 was the second hottest year on record,” said Climate Council expert, Professor Will Steffen.

“What it’s telling us is that climate change is driving very rapid warming trends and worsening the impacts of natural variability events. This sets off yet another alarm bell to the climate change siren,” he said.

Fast facts:

“Right now, we are on track for catastrophic climate change of 3°C of heating and maybe more. At just over 1°C of heating, we are already paying a serious price, as we have seen with the recent Black Summer bushfires, prolonged drought, and the third mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in five years,” said Professor Steffen.

“Year after year, decade after decade, temperature records continue to tumble because we continue to burn coal, oil and gas. It must stop,” he said.

Professor Steffen said he was encouraged to see state and territory governments stepping up their climate commitments and action, as well as Australia’s major trading partners and many leading businesses and sectors.

“We all need to step up – and fast. 2021 needs to be a year of climate action because failure is not an option,” he said.

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The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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