350.org on World Meteorological Organization Confirming 2016 Hottest Year on Record

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Lindsay Meiman, lindsay@350.org

350.org on World Meteorological Organization Confirming 2016 Hottest Year on Record

GLOBAL - Just days before climate-denying President-elect Trump's inauguration, the World Meteorological Organization released a statement on the status of the global climate showing that 2016 was the hottest year on record. This comes as the Senate prepares for confirmation hearings of Trump’s climate denial cabinet, including climate denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, and recent former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

In response to this report, 350.org Climate Impacts Programme Coordinator Aaron Packard issued the following statement:

“2016 was the year climate change took hold of the world more clearly than ever, with serious humanitarian and environmental consequences. No part of the world can now avoid the fact that climate change is striking harder and faster than many scientists predicted, and that its impacts are taking a higher toll on the most vulnerable communities. As important as marking that the record is yet again broken, we need to loudly mark what needs to be done to hold back such destruction: we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. To make that clear, that means no new oil, coal or gas projects.

Decades of progress from scientists and engineers has made renewable energy the cheapest and cleanest source of energy in the world, creating the technological momentum that is matched by the millions of people in all parts of the world demanding climate action. Elected representatives must heed this momentum - it won’t cost the earth to keep fossil fuels in the ground, but it will cost the earth if they are dug up.”

Around the world, weather events such as storms, droughts, floods and wildfires are causing the loss of human lives, threatening the livelihoods of millions and the natural systems.

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Key climate impacts in 2016

  • In the US, NOAA declared 2016 as the second hottest year on record with 15 weather and climate disasters caused 138 deaths, $46B in damages.

  • Last November, WMO published a provisional statement for 2016 to inform the United Nations Climate Change conference taking place in Marrakech, Morocco (COP22). The final statement will be released in early 2017. For the first time, the assessment considers the humanitarian impact. The following impacts are highlighted in the statement:

    • The most serious drought affected much of southern Africa.

    • The Yangtze basin in China experienced, overall, its most significant flood season since 1999.

    • Extreme heatwaves hit South Africa, and high temperatures set new national records in Kuwait, Iran, Thailand and India.

    • The most damaging wildfire in Canadian history broke out near Fort McMurray, in Alberta.

    • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that weather-related hazards triggered 14.7 million displacements in 2015, and no region of the world remained unaffected.

    • 24 million people have been reported as being in a situation of food insecurity as a consequence of the droughts in eastern Africa

  • The Great Barrier Reef suffered the worst bleaching on record with 92% of coral being affected. Six months after bleaching scientists discover more than two thirds of the northern section of the Reef is dead.

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350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.

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