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9th January 2024, 16:50:03 UTC

Reacting to the European Union’s Copernicus Global Climate Report confirming that 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded, Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Climate Policy Advisor, said:

“This alarming record shows that heating of the global climate is rapidly accelerating, with ever more serious consequences for human rights. With greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at the highest levels ever recorded, it is increasingly clear that we have entered a deeply worrying era of climate instability.

“This heating is worsening heatwaves and droughts, increasing wildfires, intensifying rainfall and generating more violent storms, all of which can have a devastating effect on the environment, biodiversity and marginalized groups.

“Within eight years of the Paris climate agreement being signed, the 1.5ºC rise in global temperatures this century it incorporated as a buffer against the worst impacts of climate change has been all but used up.

“Governments must urgently support an equitable transition to renewables, but all too often they choose to violate or water down previous climate commitments and evade their human rights responsibilities. Corporate influence over domestic and global decision-making means that the human rights of the majority are being sacrificed for the profits of a powerful few.

“Indigenous peoples, who are routinely excellent stewards of the environment, are often disproportionately affected by climate change and the exploitation of energy resources, as much of the planet’s remaining fossil fuels are situated under their ancestral lands.

“Civil society, willing governments, multilateral organizations, scientists and climate activists must use a variety of tools to break the fossil fuel stranglehold and end the financing and use of fossil fuels.”


The Copernicus Global Climate Report shows that global average temperatures in 2023 reached a record 14.98ºC – which is 1.48ºC above pre-industrial levels. Although its records go back to 1850, Copernicus scientists suspect 2023 was the hottest 12-month period in the last 100,000 years. Copernicus is the earth observation component of the EU’s space programme.

The El Niño effect, which is believed to have exacerbated heating in 2023, is expected to last well into 2024. The climate crisis threatens the universal right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as well as many other rights, including the rights to life, health, adequate housing and an adequate standard of living.