2017 hottest year ever outside El Niño cycle

Press release - 18 January, 2018
SYDNEY, January 19, 2018 - The news that last year was the hottest ever recorded outside the El Niño cycle provides yet another wake-up call for world leaders to take swift action to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Even without an El Niño effect to exacerbate the heat, 2017 was still the third hottest year since global records began, with temperatures almost 1C above the levels registered in pre-industrial times.  

“Year after year the earth is warming at an alarming rate. Unfortunately here in Australia the obvious first steps, such as phasing out coal-fired power generation, are either not being taken or being  implemented in a haphazard manner,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy campaigner Nikola Casule said.

“Ignorance of the issue stopped being an excuse decades ago. The time has come for coal-obsessed governments like Australia’s to stop living in the past and commit to meaningful action on climate change. This means slashing emissions by phasing out coal,  incentivising the use of renewable energy, and saying no to Adani Group’s destructive Carmichael coal mine.”   

The data published yesterday by the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration echoed the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement that found 2017 was Australia's third-warmest year on record.

The period from 2016 to 2017 capped off a trio of the three hottest years ever recorded while 17 of the 18 hottest years recorded since 1850 have occurred since 2000.

2017 was also marked by a series of devastating weather events across the globe, from heatwaves in Australia to hurricanes in the US and Caribbean and flooding in south Asia.

The news came on the same day that the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme Erik Solheim warned that climate change had placed coral reefs at a tipping point and called for the re-evaluation of the construction of new coal mines.

“We are at a make or break point where we can take possible steps forward or [oversee] the decline of the reefs," Mr Solheim told told Fairfax at the start of the International Year of the Reef.

Mr Solheim added that nations considering opening new coal frontiers should reassess their decision on environmental as well as economic grounds.

"Those who open up a lot of coal now may not only have an environmental problem but very soon [also] an economic problem because coal is more costly than renewables," he said.



Martin Zavan, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Media Campaigner, , 0424 295 422