Copenhagen: The United Nations’ (UN) top weather expert warned on Tuesday that the world is in its hottest decade on record as climate negotiators plunged into talks seeking a historic deal on cutting carbon emissions.
The prediction by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) underlined the pressure for an agreement at a summit in Copenhagen, which was boosted when the US said it would start to regulate carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant.
Increasing pressure: WMO’s Jarraud holds up a temperature chart during a press conference at the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. Anja Niedringhaus/AP
“The decade 2000-2009 is very likely to be the warmest on record, warmer than the 1990s, which were in turn warmer than the 1980s,” WMO secretary general Michel Jarraud told a press conference.
Jarraud also said that 2009 would probably rank as the fifth warmest since accurate records were started in 1850.
Britain’s Met office released data from hundreds of monitoring stations worldwide showing that the global surface temperature has risen significantly over the last 150 years, including a finding that the rise has averaged more than 0.15 degree Celsius per decade since the middle of the 1970s.
The Copenhagen talks, under the banner of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, are the boldest attempt in a 17-year odyssey to turn back the threat of climate change through consensus.