World will look back at 2023 as year humanity exposed its inability to tackle climate crisis, scientists say

The hottest year in recorded history casts doubts on humanity’s ability to deal with a climate crisis of its own making, senior scientists have said.

As historically high temperatures continued to be registered in many parts of the world in late December, the former Nasa scientist James Hansen told the Guardian that 2023 would be remembered as the moment when failures became apparent.

“When our children and grandchildren look back at the history of human-made climate change, this year and next will be seen as the turning point at which the futility of governments in dealing with climate change was finally exposed,” he said.

Amazon drought: ‘We’ve never seen anything like this’

The Amazon rainforest experienced its worst drought on record in 2023. Many villages became unreachable by river, wildfires raged and wildlife died. Some scientists worry events like these are a sign that the world’s biggest forest is fast approaching a point of no return.

Global heating is accelerating, warns scientist who sounded climate alarm in the 80s

The Earth’s climate is more sensitive to human-caused changes than scientists have realized until now, meaning that a “dangerous” burst of heating will be unleashed that will push the world to be 1.5C hotter than it was, on average, in pre-industrial times within the 2020s and 2C hotter by 2050, the paper published on Thursday predicts … The new research, comprising peer-reviewed work of Hansen and more than a dozen other scientists, argues that this imbalance, the Earth’s greater climate sensitivity and a reduction in pollution from shipping, which has cut the amount of airborne sulphur particles that reflect incoming sunlight, are causing an escalation in global heating.

The Illusions of Fossil Fuels - by Geoffrey Deihl

We live in an illusion. This illusion has taken place in the blink of an eye. Everything we think of as reality is a mirage, created by the discovery of fossil fuels.

Our minds do a poor job with the concept of time. Consider that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Scaled to 46 years, a number we can grasp, human beings have been here for just four hours, and the industrial revolution started one minute ago. In that sliver of time, we have imperiled our survival on this planet.

At this moment, one million species face extinction. Countless others were already consigned to oblivion by our activities. Twenty thousand years ago, humans comprised just one percent of the combined weight of all land vertebrates. Today, we comprise thirty-two percent of that weight and wild animals have been reduced to one percent. The other sixty-seven percent are the domesticated animals we imprison, torture, and eat to sustain our overpopulation. We have outstripped our environment. Any species that does so is destined for collapse.

‘Insanity’: petrostates planning huge expansion of fossil fuels, says UN report

The world’s fossil fuel producers are planning expansions that would blow the planet’s carbon budget twice over, a UN report has found. Experts called the plans “insanity” which “throw humanity’s future into question”.

The energy plans of the petrostates contradicted their climate policies and pledges, the report said. The plans would lead to 460% more coal production, 83% more gas, and 29% more oil in 2030 than it was possible to burn if global temperature rise was to be kept to the internationally agreed 1.5C. The plans would also produce 69% more fossil fuels than is compatible with the riskier 2C target.