Nature and Biodiversity

World's hottest day and month recorded – plus other nature and climate stories you need to read this week

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Top nature and climate stories: 4 July is world's hottest day; $760 billion a year is needed for EU's green transition; and more.

Top nature and climate stories: 4 July is world's hottest day; $760 billion a year is needed for EU's green transition; and more. Image: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate

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  • This weekly round-up contains the key nature and climate news from the past week.
  • Top nature and climate stories: 4 July is world's hottest day; $760 billion a year is needed for EU's green transition; Atlantic hurricane season forecast revised to include 18 named storms.

1. World has its hottest day – and month – ever recorded

Temperatures across the globe are breaking record levels, with Tuesday, 4 July officially the world's hottest day ever recorded, breaking a record set just the day before.

As heatwaves pushed up the mercury from China to North Africa and the southern states of the US, the global average temperature reached 17.18°C – even higher than the 17.01°C on Monday, according to data from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

On 6 July, scientists at European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service revealed that June had been the world's hottest month on record. Temperatures recorded on both land and sea were abnormally high.

"This record is no surprise and a testament of climate change progressing at a worrying pace," said Joeri Rogelj, a professor of climate science at Imperial College London's Grantham Institute.

"As the amplifying El Niño phenomenon develops further over the coming months, it is not unexpected to see more global temperature records broken."

The UK also experienced its hottest June since 1884, according to the Met Office, which said climate change is making extreme heat more common. The average temperature for June was 15.8°C – 0.9°C hotter than the previous record reached in both 1940 and 1976.

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2. $760bn a year for EU's green transition

More than $762 billion a year in investments are needed to help Europe combat climate change through its energy transition goals, a report from the EU Commission has found.

The Strategic Foresight Report focuses on the EU's ability to meet its goals. It found "additional investments of $675.3 billion annually will be needed to meet the objectives of the Green Deal and of our REPowerEU plan".

An additional 92 billion euros would be needed to address the objectives of the Net-Zero Industry Act over the 2023-2030 period, it added.

EU Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic called for targeted investment from the public sector at a press conference, saying Europe needs to shift to be a "Europe of investments" to reach its goals.

Under European climate law, EU countries have a legal obligation to be carbon neutral by 2050. Member states have committed to cutting net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Greenhouse gas emissions trends: emissions, projections and targets for the EU.
Charting the EU's progress towards reaching net-zero emissions. Image: European Parliament

3. News in brief: Other top nature and climate stories this week

A new report finds that emissions from plastic consumption can rival that from cars. An Australian Marine Conservation Society report found that in Australia emissions from this consumption is equivalent to 5.7 million cars – more than a third of the cars on Australia’s roads.

As sea surface temperatures hit record levels, US forecasters again raised their estimate for tropical storms. Colorado State University forecasters predict this year's Atlantic hurricane season could include 18 named storms, with nine hurricanes, out of which four could become major storms

El Niño could peak in Malaysia in the first months of 2024, the country's government forecast on 7 July. Early signs of the weather phenomenon, which brings longer periods of hot, dry weather, are already impacting Malaysia's largest palm oil producing state Sabah, as water stress is reducing crop yields.

The shipping industry will need to reach net-zero emissions "by or around 2050" under a new agreement reached in London at the headquarters of the UN's International Maritime Organization. But environmental campaigners said the agreement fell short of goals to keep global heating below 1.5°C.

Almost half of samples of tap water in the US contain toxic "forever chemicals", the US Geological Survey. At least one synthetic perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substance – used in a range of household items from cleaning supplies to pizza boxes – was found in 45% of samples at unsafe levels.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has approved Japan's plan to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean, after a two-year review. The IAEA said they would have a "negligible radiological impact to people and the environment", Reuters reports.

4. More on the nature and climate crisis on Agenda

Temperature records have been broken in many countries this year, and climate scientists say 2023 could become the hottest year on record. Rising carbon emissions and climate change are key factors behind this prediction, and the anticipated return of the El Niño weather phenomenon is also playing a part. Here's what you need to know.

Somalia, like other sub-Saharan countries, is suffering the humanitarian effects of climate change. Here are four ways the country can build its resiliency in terms of sustainable agriculture, local systems and technology, according to Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, Office of Special Presidential Envoy for Droughts and Humanitarian Affairs, Federal Government of Somalia.

City populations are rising, but they are also key to solving the climate crisis. The World Bank has outlined the challenges of designing a more resilient, greener and more inclusive urban environment – and the strategies needed to tackle them.

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Contents
1. World has its hottest day – and month – ever recorded2. $760bn a year for EU's green transition3. News in brief: Other top nature and climate stories this week 4. More on the nature and climate crisis on Agenda

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