World temperatures hit new high in 2016 for third year in a row

admin   •   January 23, 2017   •   3909

People are seen in silhouette as they cool off in water fountains in a park as hot summer temperatures hit Paris, France, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

World temperatures hit a record high for the third year in a row in 2016, creeping closer to a ceiling set for global warming with extremes including unprecedented heat in India and ice melt in the Arctic, U.S. government agencies said on Wednesday.

The data, supported by findings from other organizations, was issued two days before the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who questions whether climate change has a human cause.

Average surface temperatures over land and the oceans in 2016 were 0.94 degrees Celsius (1.69 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th-century average of 13.9C (57.0F), according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

U.S. space agency NASA reported almost identical data, and the UK Met Office and University of East Anglia, which also track global temperatures for the United Nations, said 2016 was the hottest year on record.

Temperatures, lifted both by man-made greenhouse gases and a natural El Nino event that released heat from the Pacific Ocean last year, beat the previous record in 2015, when 200 nations agreed a plan to limit global warming. That peak had in turn eclipsed 2014.

“We don’t expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Global temperature records date back to the 1880s. Temperatures are unlikely to set a new peak in 2017 after the El Nino faded, even as greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels keep building up in the atmosphere, led by China and the United States.

Piers Forster, climate expert at the University of Leeds, said this year was likely to be cooler. “However, unless we have a major volcanic eruption, I expect the record to be broken again within a few years,” he said. Ash from big eruptions can dim sunlight.

NATURAL DISASTERS

Among last year’s extreme weather events, wildfires in Alberta were the costliest natural disaster in Canada’s history while Phalodi in west India recorded a temperature of 51C (123.8°F) on May 19, a national record.

North America also had its warmest year on record, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia suffered severe damage from rising temperatures, and sea ice in both the Arctic Ocean and around Antarctica is at record lows for mid-January.

At a conference in Paris in late 2015, governments agreed a plan to phase out fossil fuels this century and shift to renewable energies such as wind and solar power.

They agreed to limit warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times, while pursuing efforts for 1.5C (2.7F). By that yardstick, the rise stood at about 1.1C (2.0F) in 2016.

“Long-term indicators of human-caused climate change reached new heights in 2016,” Petteri Taalaas, head of the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organisation said, referring to rising levels of carbon dioxide and methane.

Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax, has threatened to cancel the Paris Agreement and shift to exploiting cheap domestic coal, oil and gas. At a meeting in Marrakesh days after Trump’s victory, however, almost 200 nations said it was an “urgent duty” to combat climate change.

“The hottest year on record is such a clear warning siren that even President-elect Trump cannot ignore,” said Mark Maslin, Professor of Climatology at University College London.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; editing by John Stonestreet)

Duterte looking forward to closely working with Biden – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

(L-R) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President-elect Joe Biden

MANILA, Philippines –  President Rodrigo Duterte said he is “looking forward to closely working” with Joseph Biden as he congratulated the latter for winning the United States presidential elections.

“On behalf of the Filipino nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to former Vice President Joseph “Joe” Biden on his election as the new President of the United States of America,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

“We look forward to working closely with the new administration of President-elect Biden anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” he added.

Roque also said that the Philippines is committed to further strengthening its ties with the US under Biden’s administration.

“The Philippines and the United States have long-standing bilateral relations and we are committed to further enhancing the relations with the United States under the Biden administration,” he said.

“Congratulations and we wish him all the best,” he added.

Democrat Biden became the 46th President of the United States after he defeated Republican Donald Trump, according to US media on Sunday.

Biden becomes 46th US president after Pennsylvania win

Maris Federez   •   November 8, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democratic party has won Pennsylvania, surpassing the needed 270 electoral votes to take the White House and become the 46th president of the United States.

Biden on Saturday’s election results released the following statement as president-elect:

“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris. In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”

As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Biden also won Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan as he heads to the presidency, “flipping states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.”

Trump needed the Pennsylvania win to stay in power. 

Biden’s win came after days of uncertainty as the processing of some ballots was delayed when election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes.

Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992, the AP said.

The 77-year-old Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and sought to contrast his working-class roots with the affluent Trump’s by casting the race as “Scranton versus Park Avenue.” —/mbmf

US donates 100 ventilators to Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2020

U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque, and USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II lead the handover of the ventilators at Malacañang Palace on Friday, August 28.

MANILA, Philippines – The United States on Friday donated 100 ventilators and associated supplies to the Philippines in support of its fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, its embassy in Manila said.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III led the turnover of the medical supplies at the Malacañang on Friday.

“These ventilators are part of the continued partnership between the American people and our Philippine friends, partners, and allies.  We will continue to work together to overcome COVID-19,” Ambassador Kim said in a statement.

In addition to the ventilators, the embassy said the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide clinical training and technical assistance to support health facilities to operate ventilators. 

This donation brings the total U.S. contribution to the Philippines’ COVID-19 response to more than Php1 billion ($22.6 million), provided through the U.S. State Department, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Defense. 

The embassy said the DOH will facilitate the delivery of the ventilators to hospitals located across the Philippines in coordination with USAID and the Office of Civil Defense.

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