Buckle up, folks, because Mother Earth is turning up the heat. The U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction dropped some chilling news: we’ve just experienced the hottest day ever recorded on this planet, with the average global temperature reaching a staggering 62.62°F (or 17.01°C).
But wait, there’s more.
This record had barely enough time to cool off before it was toppled. In a mere 24 hours, we hit another all-time high, peaking at 17.18°C. Every corner of the world, from Asia and Africa to the U.S. South, is sweltering under savage heat waves.
As millions worldwide are thrown into peril, we’re seeing how this scalding summer is affecting us. China is feeling the burn with an intense heatwave just after breaking temperature records in Beijing. India’s extreme heat has been linked to fatalities in its most impoverished regions. Last week, Texas and northern Mexico were trapped under a dangerous heat dome, while the U.K. endured its warmest June ever.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently declared the advent of El Niño conditions, signified by warmer surface waters in the Pacific. According to WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, El Niño’s arrival escalates the chances of smashing temperature records, triggering severe heatwaves worldwide, and heating our oceans. Governments globally must prepare and act to limit the effects on our health, ecosystems, and economies.
These sweltering conditions, coupled with Canada’s unprecedented wildfire season, are stark reminders of our climate emergency. As we approach the upcoming COP28 climate conference, world leaders are facing growing demands to clamp down on fossil fuels – the leading culprit behind this global climate crisis.
Jeni Miller, executive director of the California-based Global Climate and Health Alliance, underscored the dire situation: “People globally are already suffering from climate impacts, including heatwaves, wildfires, air pollution, floods, and severe storms.” Add crop losses, the spread of infectious diseases, and migration to that list, and we have a full-blown crisis on our hands.
Our leaders must commit to phasing out all fossil fuels and ensure a just transition to renewable energy for everyone. It’s an urgent call that Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Britain’s Imperial College London, echoes. She warns us: this record-breaking global temperature is “not a milestone we should be celebrating.” Instead, it serves as a grim reminder of the existential threat to people and ecosystems. As she puts it, “It’s a death sentence.”
So, let’s keep the pressure on our leaders. It’s our planet, and we need to fight for it before it’s too late.