• Corinne E. Atton

January 24, 2021: 2020 Hottest Year

Welcome to a “Tea Break” article—with a climate focus:


2020 Was The hottest Year On Record

Despite lockdowns and a reduction in travel and other activities, 2020 was the hottest year ever recorded in Europe reports the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Copernicus reports that in 2020, the average surface temperature across the planet was 1.25 degrees Celsius above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial level – perilously close to the 1.5 degrees Celsius target set by signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement.


NASA subsequently confirmed, reporting that 2020 tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York reports, using a different method to Copernicus, that the global average temperature was 1.84 degrees Fahrenheit (1.02 degrees Celsius warmer than a baseline 1951-1980 mean).


This, yet again, reinforces that we have no time to lose – we must come out of this pandemic with a new mindset and with a commitment to climate goals, both personal and in every sector of our society.


(Image acknowledgment: NASA/EPA)

Where Was 2020's Record Heat Felt the Most?


The New York Times reports that Siberia and the Arctic experienced record heat in 2020, while elsewhere, this heat fueled wildfires that pumped more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

NASA reports that the planet has warmed more than 1 degree Celsius (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800’s, and the pace is accelerating, warming an average of about 0.15-0.2 degrees Celsius per decade since 1975. This heat has brought not only heatwaves and wildfires, but drought and floods.


(Image acknowledgment: NASA)

This blog post is brought to you by Draper & Draper LLC, a law firm devoted to international arbitration, resolution of natural resources and renewable energy disputes, climate change innovation and patents.