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Last month was hottest September on record, says EU climate authority

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LONDON : Last month was the world's hottest September on record, with unusually high temperatures recorded off Siberia, in the Middle East, and in parts of South America and Australia, the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service said yesterday.

Extending a long-term warming trend caused by emissions of heat-trapping gases, high temperatures this year have played a major role in disasters from fires in California to floods in Asia, scientists said.

Globally, September was 0.05 deg C warmer than the same month last year and 0.08 deg C warmer than in 2016, previously the warmest and second warmest Septembers on record, data showed.

For the 12-month period through September, the planet was nearly 1.3 deg C above pre-industrial levels, alarmingly close to the 1.5 deg C limit in the Paris Agreement, according to the Copernicus service.

Arctic sea ice continued its rapid decline, hitting its second-lowest extent for September since satellites started monitoring the ice in 1979, Bloomberg reported.

"There was an unusually rapid decline in Arctic sea ice extent during June and July, in the same region where above average temperatures were recorded," Copernicus director Carlo Buontempo said.

"The combination of record temperatures and low Arctic sea ice in 2020 highlight the importance of improved and more comprehensive monitoring in a region warming faster than anywhere else in the world."

Over the past three months this year, climate events such as the La Nina phenomenon and projected low levels of autumn Arctic sea ice will influence whether the year as a whole will become the warmest on record, the Copernicus service said.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has voted in favour of a legally binding target for the European Union to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030, against 1990 levels, according to vote results released yesterday.

The goal is more ambitious than the net emissions cut of "at least 55 per cent" by 2030 proposed by the European Commission, which wants to finalise the target by the year end.

To do that, Parliament will need to agree on the target with European Union member countries. - REUTERS, AFP