Will the earth break previous records to post-2023 as the hottest year?

The three months of July, August and September have been the hottest ever in the history of the Earth, prompting scientists to say that 2023 could become the hottest year.

The cornwall coast in the uk is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.(Rahul kumar)

In September this year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said in a press release that the summer of 2023 was the earth’s hottest since global records started in 1880. In an alarming revelation about where the planet is headed, the NASA press release said: "The months of June, July, and August combined were 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit (0.23 degrees Celsius) warmer than any other summer in NASA’s record, and 2.1 degrees F (1.2 C) warmer than the average summer between 1951 and 1980.  August alone was 2.2 F (1.2 C) warmer than the average. June through August is considered meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere". 

NASA collates its readings from surface air temperature as well as sea surface temperature from ship and buoy-based instruments. 

It is not just NASA alone that believes that this year will turn out hottest because scientists in Europe also reached similar conclusions that the hot summer of 2023 is likely to push up the temperatures for the rest of the year.

The earth is getting warmer mainly due to two actions of mankind - chopping down forests and the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. The continuous release of GHGs, which include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, due to the burning of fossil fuels traps the sun's heat pushing up temperatures on Earth.

How will a warmer earth impact life?

As temperatures shoot up, the planet witnesses more heat waves, more forest fires, heavier rainfall, bigger hurricanes, and large-scale droughts. Each weather and climate change event is becoming larger in intensity and more devastating to human life and infrastructure. Besides the massive loss to humans, extreme weather events bring more damage to the environment and cause bigger health and agricultural losses. 

Higher temperature is also melting glaciers and causing sea-level rise, threatening coastal communities and the likelihood of severe damage to mega-cities like New York and Mumbai that stand on coastlines. The warmer temperature of the oceans is also damaging marine life and eliminating species. 

As the earth undergoes slow torture by its most intelligent species but also its most careless one, what are the tools being deployed by concerned people to mitigate and reduce temperatures and bring down the earth's fever?

Governments and international bodies are focussing on achieving Net Zero - the mammoth challenge that involves reducing GHG emissions and absorbing more harmful gases from the atmosphere. In short, it means that countries will have to achieve both - reduce emissions as well as remove emissions till the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere is neutralized.  

While the US has promised to achieve Net Zero by 2050, India has pledged to do so by 2070. It goes without saying that for both countries it will be a challenge to meet those goals despite their commitment and technologies at hand. 

Lately, coastal countries are also pushing for bringing larger areas under mangrove forests as these are known to absorb nearly four times more carbon than forests. These coastal forests also reduce floods and act as natural barriers against tides and storms. 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Indonesia set up the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) to push for nature-based solutions against climate change. Other countries like India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan, and Spain with long coastlines joined the alliance later.

The other tools, countries, and corporates are deploying to achieve Net Zero include increasing the use of renewable power like tidal, solar, and wind energy, even enhancing the use of nuclear power, energy-efficient technologies and devices as well as increasing the use of electric vehicles. Countries are also investing heavily in clean transportation to cut carbon and improve air quality. 

Global trade that relies heavily on shipping is also looking to cut down carbon in the maritime arena through alternative fuels and green shipping corridors.

Despite the bright ideas and technology at hand, rising temperatures prove that we are not doing enough in the battle to protect our environment.

Written By:

Rahul Kumar

Rahul Kumar is a senior Delhi-based journalist and development communications professional with a wide experience in news reporting, feature writing and editing for mainstream newspapers and magazines. He is a recipient of numerous fellowships by international organisations including Reuters, Chevening Scholarships and Radio Netherlands. He has worked in the alternative and online media, where he developed media and communication strategies and co-led teams of journalists covering international development conferences. He has executed numerous media and communication projects for various organisations. He loves to photograph urban and social issues and has organised several photo-exhibitions in Delhi. His other loves are yoga, long walks and cycling.

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