The year 2015 is more than 99.999 percent certain to be declared the hottest year on record globally, according to the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, while the Bureau of Meteorology has just confirmed Australia’s 2015 temperatures were the fifth-warmest on record.
“Globally it’s expected to be declared the hottest year on record, Australia was the 5th hottest and on the Border it was the equal seventh hottest year” said Lauriston Muirhead, spokesperson for Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH).
The Border’s mean temperature in 2015 was 1.0 degrees warmer than average, with the Hume Reservoir Bureau of Meteorology weather station figures recording a daily mean temperature of 16.6 degrees Celsius in 2015, compared with the long term annual average of 15.6 degrees.
“This data continues to confirm the strong upward global temperature trend. We are all relieved that it was not the hottest year for Australia or the Border region but we cannot ignore the trend as the land, oceans and atmosphere heat up. Think back to our average day-time October temperatures, which were almost six degrees warmer than usual. In Melbourne the AFL Grand Final was played in conditions more typical of a Boxing Day Test Match. Then in December we experienced extreme heat during the weekend of the Barnawartha-Indigo Valley bushfire, making it two Decembers in a row that bushfires threatened Wodonga.”
Former Albury Mayor, Arthur Frauenfelder, has been concerned about climate change for some time. “It has been well and truly established that climate change is real and largely caused by human activities. I cannot believe responsible people are ignoring what’s happening. During the recent climate talks in Paris, world governments united to strengthen the pollution limits previously set. Now the hard work of implementation begins.” Mr Frauenfelder wants 2016 to be the year the Turnbull government starts taking climate action seriously.
“Having had the courage to change the policy on wind investment, perhaps Mr Turnbull could adopt other policies to fit in with the Paris agreement, such as strengthening our emission reduction targets from the paltry 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and assure the retention of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), sign the New Zealand initiative for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, ban all new coal mines, close the most polluting coal-fired power stations, restore the Renewable Energy target to 41,000GWh or more and provide more money to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change.
Though globally 2015 temperatures were propelled in part by a strong El Niño, humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change played the largest role in increased temperatures, around 90-95% percent according to recent analysis by Climate Central, compared to El Niño’s 5-10 percent.
“This year is not only the world’s hottest on record; it is part of a string of recent heat records. Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years have been since 2000”, said Mr Muirhead. “The future is now in our hands. The longer we fail to take appropriate action, the more extreme future temperatures, and their effects, will be.”
2015 will likely be the first year in which global averages were more than a full degree Celsius over the 1850-1900 average temperature, according to the UK Met Office. This means we are already halfway to the internationally agreed-upon 2° Celsius limit for warming.
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