EU scientists say 2023 will be warmest year on record globally

(Reuters) -European Union scientists said on Wednesday that 2023 would be the warmest year on record, as global mean temperature for the first 11 months of the year hit the highest level on record, 1.46 degrees Celsius (2.63 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1850-1900 average.

The record comes as governments are in marathon negotiations on whether to, for the first time, phase out the use of CO2-emitting coal, oil and gas, the main source of warming emissions, at the COP28 summit in Dubai.

The temperature for the January-November period was 0.13C higher than the average for the same period in 2016, currently the warmest calendar year on record, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said.

November 2023 was the warmest November on record globally, with an average surface air temperature of 14.22C, 0.85C above the 1991-2020 average for November and 0.32C above the previous warmest November, in 2020, Copernicus added.

This year “has now had six record breaking months and two record breaking seasons. The extraordinary global November temperatures, including two days warmer than 2C above preindustrial, mean that 2023 is the warmest year in recorded history,” deputy director of C3S Samantha Burgess said in a statement.

The boreal autumn September–November was also the warmest on record globally by a large margin, with an average temperature of 15.30C, 0.88C above average, EU scientists said.

“As long as greenhouse gas concentrations keep rising, we can’t expect different outcomes from those seen this year. The temperature will keep rising and so will the impacts of heatwaves and droughts. Reaching net zero as soon as possible is an effective way to manage our climate risks,” C3S director, Carlo Buontempo added.

Efforts are lagging to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, beyond which scientists warn of a severe impact on weather, health and agriculture.

The EU has among the most ambitious climate change policies of any major economy, having passed laws to deliver its 2030 target to cut net emissions by 55% from 1990 levels, which analysts say is the minimum needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

(Reporting by Diana Mandiá. Editing by Gerry Doyle)