Sustainable switch: Climate focus

Civil Protection members hand out bottles of cold water during a heat wave in Monterrey, Mexico.

IT is getting hot out here as the world has just experienced yet another month of record-breaking temperatures.

The European Union’s climate change monitoring service said it was the hottest April on record, extending an 11-month streak in which every month set a temperature record.

Each month since June 2023 has ranked as the planet's hottest on record, compared with the corresponding month in previous years, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said in a monthly bulletin.

Including April, the world’s average temperature was the highest on record for a 12-month period — 1,61 degrees Celsius above the average in the 1850-1900 pre-industrial period.

Some of the extremes — including months of record-breaking sea surface temperatures — have led scientists to investigate whether human activity has now triggered a tipping point in the climate system.

“I think many scientists have asked the question whether there could be a shift in the climate system,” Julien Nicolas, C3S senior climate scientist, said.

Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are the main cause of climate change.

In recent months, the natural El Niño phenomenon, which warms the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, has also raised temperatures.

The El Niño weather pattern should fade out by June but could be replaced by the La Nina phenomenon by the second half of the year, a United States government forecaster said.

There is a 49% chance that the La Nina weather pattern may develop during the June to August period, rising to 69% in July-September, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) said in its monthly forecast.

Climate buzz

El Niño to end by June, La Nina seen in second half of 2024, says US forecaster. The full weather pattern involving El Niño, La Nina and a neutral phase typically lasts between two to seven years. Experts have warned that Latin American nations must be on high alert as a rapid switch to La Nina this time could leave populations and crops little time to recover.

Mexico heat wave triggers “exceptional” power outages, president says. Widespread recent power outages in Mexico were caused by unseasonably hot weather, the country’s president said, assuring consumers that the national grid has sufficient generating capacity going forward.

Australia backs long-term gas drilling despite 2050 climate goals. Australia’s Labour government laid out a strategy to boost natural gas development even as it remains committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, highlighting demand from key Asian trade partners.

Youth-led climate lawsuit against EPA dismissed! A California federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by 18 young people who claim the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discriminates against children by issuing permits for fossil fuel projects that release too many climate-warming pollutants.

Japan to start hunting fin whales after five years of commercial whaling. Japan will add large fin whales to its list of commercial whaling species, government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi said, five years after leaving an international body that regulates the commercial hunt of marine mammals. — Reuters.

  • Kimathi is the energy and ESG editor, Reuters Digital.

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