World Heads for Seventh Warmest Year as CO2 Hits Record

The world is heading for its seventh warmest year on record with temperatures that were unprecedented two decades ago, the United Nations said.

“All of the warmest years have been since 1998, and this year once again continues the underlying, long-term trend,” UN World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said today in a statement at the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw. “The coldest years now are warmer than the hottest years before 1998.”

The global average temperature through September is on a par with the average for the 2001 through 2010 decade, which was the warmest ever, according to the WMO. With the main greenhouse gases at a record in 2012 and set to rise further, Jarraud said the planet is committed to a warmer future.

Envoys from 195 countries have gathered in the Polish capital to craft elements of a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. They aim to adopt the treaty in 2015 and have it come into force from 2020. Their task is to limit temperatures to ensure they don’t rise by more than the agreed UN target of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since industrialization.

Countries experiencing records include Australia, with its hottest month ever registered in January, Japan, which had its warmest summer, and China, with its warmest August, the WMO said.

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