NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) scientists have today confirmed that in 2014 global average temperatures were at their the warmest year since records began in 1880.
This means that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred since the year 2000. This serves as further confirmation that human emissions of greenhouse gases are making climate change happen at a much faster rate than has previously been observed. The average annual global temperature was 58.24 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 1.24 degrees above the average for the 20th Century.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body set up to bring together the world's experts on climate said in 2014 that 'Human influence on the climate system is clear and recent anthropogenic (made by humans) emissions of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) are the highest in history.'
The IPCC recommends substantial reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases in the next few decades to reduce the risk of extreme climate change. This will mean a much greater reliance on renewable energy in the future.
Climate change happens over extended periods of time, so even if we were to reduce human emissions of greenhouse gases right now, changes caused by the gas already emitted would still be felt for decades. So it's vital that the world's population comes to an agreement on how we are going to tackle the challenges of reducing climate change by reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases while balancing people's needs for energy for transport, light, heat etc.
We have to hope that the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in Paris, France towards the end of the year will lead to the world's leaders reaching an agreement on how we, as a species address the harm we are doing to the our planet's climate.