The five years to 2019 were the hottest ever, new data shows. And 2019 was the second hottest since records began—underlining the scale of the climate emergency.
That’s according to data from the UK Met office, the University of East Anglia, Nasa, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
“It’s now official that we have just completed the warmest decade on record, a reminder that the planet continues to warm as we continue to burn fossil fuels,” said climatologist Michael Mann.
The figures are taken from average air temperature—but the oceans reveal an even grimmer picture. It’s estimated that more than 90 percent of heat-produced greenhouse gases are absorbed into the ocean.
A further report, also released last week in the Adavances in Atmospheric Sciences journal, shows that 2019 was “the largest single-year increase of the entire decade, said Mann.
“A sobering reminder that human-caused heating of our planet continues unabated.”
An increase in ocean temperature drives bigger storms and extreme weather, melts ice causing sea levels to rise and devastates animal species and their habitats.
The reports came as activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) in Scotland unleashed a fortnight of resistance against the fossil fuel industry with a “Rig Rebellion 2.0”.
Climate rebels in Aberdeen positioned themselves on oil firm Shell’s doorstep last Thursday to “point the finger at people who are responsible” for climate catastrophe.
Politics student Gil Anderson was locked to an oil barrel blocking one of the entrances to the Shell headquarters building when he spoke to Socialist Worker. He said, “There’s been lots of good work from NGOs and locally?based activists.
“But the only real change that’s ever occurred in general—including environmental activism—is when people take direct action,” said Gil.
“It’s not about just waiting on MPs—we want to show people that it’s within our means to take action ourselves.”
Other actions during the rebellion saw rebels scale an oil rig off the coast of Dundee and hold protests outside petrol stations.
Retired oil worker Neil Rothnie told Socialist Worker he was inspired to join in partly because of the threat that rapid-onset climate catastrophe posed to his grandchildren.
He said that “workers must be at the centre” of the transition away from oil and gas and that there had to be “a massive increase in the renewable energy industry”.
“One way or another the oil rigs will end,” he said. “If they end sooner we survive. If they end later it does not bode well."