This decade has very likely been the warmest in the historical record, and 2009 will probably end up as one of the warmest years, the U.N. weather agency announced Tuesday at the second day of the 192-nation climate conference in Copenhagen.
In some areas -- parts of Africa, central Asia -- this will probably be the warmest year, but overall 2009 “is likely to be about the fifth-warmest year on record,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization.
The decade 2000-2009 “is very likely to be the warmest on record, warmer than the 1990s, than the 1980s and so on,” Jarraud said.
The data were released as negotiators at the two-week talks worked to craft a global deal to step up efforts to stem climate change. On Tuesday, delegates were digging into the dense technicalities of “metrics” and “gas inventories,” as governments jockeyed for position leading up to the finale late next week, when more than 100 national leaders, including President Barack Obama, will converge on Copenhagen for the final days of bargaining.
In Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged fellow Europeans to raise their bid on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to pressure the U.S. and others to offer more in the Copenhagen negotiations.
“We’ve got to make countries recognise that they have to be as ambitious as they say they want to be. It’s not enough to say ‘I may do this, I might do this, possibly I’ll do this’ I want to create a situation in which the European Union is persuaded to go to 30 percent,” Brown was quoted as saying by Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
The European Union has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, compared with 1990, and is considering raising that to 30 per cent if other governments also aim high. Government leaders will have an opportunity to make such a move at an EU summit this Thursday and Friday in Brussels.
On Monday, when the climate conference opened, the Obama administration gave the talks a boost by announcing steps that could lead to new U.S. emissions controls that don’t require the approval of the U.S. Congress.