Climate crisis: 2020 was joint hottest year ever recorded

Global heating continued unabated despite Covid lockdowns, with record Arctic wildfires and Atlantic tropical storms

The climate crisis continued unabated in 2020, with the the joint highest global temperatures on record, alarming heat and record wildfires in the Arctic, and a record 29 tropical storms in the Atlantic.

Despite a 7% fall in fossil fuel burning due to coronavirus lockdowns, heat-trapping carbon dioxide continued to build up in the atmosphere, also setting a new record. The average surface temperature across the planet in 2020 was 1.25C higher than in the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900, dangerously close to the 1.5C target set by the world’s nations to avoid the worst impacts.

Related: Global heating could stabilize if net zero emissions achieved, scientists say

Related: Floods, storms and searing heat: 2020 in extreme weather

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