Data released today by the UK Met Office, NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that 2016 was the hottest year on record. What's more 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred this century.
Proper records of global temperatures only stretch back to 1880, but the results of scientific research show that the planet was last this warm around 115,000 years ago. The planet's atmosphere has not contained as much carbon dioxide for four million years.
The world's global average temperature is now 1.1C above pre-Industrial levels. Last year's Paris agreement set the target of limiting temperature rises to below 1.5C of pre-Industrial levels. We are now getting close to that limit.
Climate scientists are now convinced that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by human activities are the cause of the global temperature increases. The World Meterological Organisation (WMO) has said that warming caused by humans has contributed to at least half of the extreme weather events seen in recent years.
Although global emissions of CO2 have remained roughly stable for the last three years, they are still at record levels. It is important that we all take steps to reduce carbon emissions as soon as possible.
See the resources below for further information on climate change.