The average temperature was 0.17°C higher than in 2016, the previous record year–this is quite a significant jump. Photo: Damian Gadal_Wikimedia Commons

2023 world’s hottest year ever; reached very close to 1.5°C warming limit

Last year was the hottest year on record by a huge margin. According to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (CCCS), the planet was 1.48°C warmer in 2023 than pre-industrial levels—almost reaching the 1.5°C warming limit set in the Paris Agreement. The average temperature was 0.17°C higher than in 2016, the previous record year–this is quite a significant jump. The main causes were record CO2 emissions coupled with El Nino. 

Land on which Rabi crop was sown in 2023 lower than 2022; erratic rainfall to blame?

India’s Rabi crop production may be low for the season, according to preliminary data. Acreage is approximately 1,651,000 hectares less than usual, with pulses experiencing the lowest acreage, according to the data. Changes in rainfall patterns is most likely the reason for the fall. The government records show rabi crop was sown on 62.96 million hectares of land until December 2023. The current season’s sowing area has decreased by 1.65 million hectares. The sowing of pulses has also seen a decline last year, with gram cultivation suffering the most serious hit. Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat among states affected. 

Not enough land available to implement biodiversity targets along with mitigation strategies: Study

The lack of available land could prove to be an impediment in implementing biodiversity targets and climate mitigation measures, according to a recent study. The research published in the journal Frontiers in Climate stated countries have pledged 120 million square kilometres for land-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to achieve net-zero goals. This includes afforestation or reforestation, peatland management, and soil carbon sequestration, among others. In 2022, nations agreed on a biodiversity “30×30” target, which aims to safeguard 30% of the world’s terrestrial and marine areas by 2030. 

All of these targets depend on land use and are in conflict with each other, the study stated. It recommended governments should prioritise degraded lands for CDR activities to minimise the conflict with regions valuable for biodiversity. 

Today’s CO2 concentration highest in 14 million years: Study

A new study mapped changes in atmospheric levels of CO2 in the past 66 million years. It found that today’s concentration–420 parts per million—is higher than it has ever been over the past 14 million years. The study, published in the journal Science, tried to reconstruct CO2 concentrations going back until the Cenozoic era, when dinosaurs turned extinct and mammals first began roaming the Earth. 

In order to measure CO2 levels from so long ago, the scientists relied on direct evidence such as air bubbles in glaciers, which carry evidence of CO2 levels going back 800,000 years, along with indirect evidence such as isotopes in minerals and the morphology of fossilised leaves, among other things.