Reflecting on Climate Change News of 2023

The year 2023 has been a crucial time for climate change discussions and action.

With the mounting urgency to address this global crisis, governments, businesses, and individuals around the world have started prioritising sustainable initiatives. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the significant climate change news and milestones from 2023, highlighting the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead.

A new record for global temperatures

2023 has surpassed record-breaking temperatures.

Until now, 2016 was the hottest year on record, but the January-October average for 2023 exceeded 2016’s records by around 0.10°C. According to the BBC (1) around 33% of the days in 2023 surpassed pre-industrial temperatures by +1.5°C. The 1.5°C and 2°C targets were part of The Paris Agreement to limit global warming and minimise the negative impacts of climate change. The temperature is relevant to pre-industrial revolution global temperatures. Scientists predicted that once we surpass 1.5°C, the risks to nature, the economy, and livelihoods would increase. The key risks for a 1.5°C temperature increase are the number of extreme weather events (read more about that below) which could lead to droughts and/or flooding, limiting crop production. +2°C would see hotter global temperatures and more droughts. Anything beyond this point is likely to see catastrophic results including famine, ecosystem collapse, and severe heat waves. So, the +1.5°C temperatures we’ve seen throughout 2023 reinforce the need to cut emissions on a global scale, immediately. 

Photo credit: BBC (1)

Extreme weather events

The year 2023 was marked by extreme weather events that served as stark reminders of the consequences of climate change.

Heatwaves, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes have devastated communities worldwide, highlighting the urgent need for resilient infrastructure and adapting to the changing climate. These events have reinforced the notion that climate change is not a distant threat but an immediate crisis affecting us all. As mentioned above, every increase in global temperatures will come with implications.

In Canada, wildfires were ongoing for months earlier this year, destroying more than 18 million hectares of land (2). Elsewhere, data shows that up to July 2023 there was around 234,516 hectares of land lost to wildfires in the EU alone (3).

Ongoing weather events as a result of climate change also have implications for our wildlife and ecosystems. The National Trust has reported a 19% decline in British wildlife since 1907 (4), attributing this decrease to climate change and intensive farming. 

Renewable energy revolution

In 2023, the renewable energy sector continued its rapid growth, solidifying its position as a driving force in the fight against climate change.

Solar and wind energy installations reached record-breaking levels, surpassing expectations, and further displacing fossil fuel dependence. Policies and investments in renewable energy infrastructure have become a top priority for governments worldwide. According to Solar Portal, we are set to surpass 200,000 solar installations in 2023 alone (5), a massive step forward for the RES sector. 

The year 2023 has been a critical turning point in the fight against climate change. With increased political will, heightened public awareness, and a growing commitment from various sectors, there is hope for a more sustainable future. However, while progress has been made, the challenges ahead remain substantial. We must continue to advocate for bold actions, support renewable energy transition, encourage sustainable practices, and hold governments and corporations accountable for their commitments. 

Together, we can make a difference.