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A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

The big picture: 2020 will go down as one of the three warmest years on record.

  • The World Meteorological Organization said this year is set to end about 2.2°F warmer than the last half of the 1800s.
  • That's a half degree away from the limit set by the Paris climate accord, which could be exceeded by 2024, the WMO said today.

Among the dozens of extremes of 2020, from the WMO report:

  • Record 30 Atlantic named tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Death Valley had the hottest temperature on Earth in the last 80 years.
  • Record wildfires in the western U.S. and record heat in Australia.
  • Record wildfires and a prolonged heat wave in the Arctic.
  • Record low Arctic sea ice was reported for April and August, and the yearly minimum, in September, was the second lowest on record.

Between the lines: It's projected to get worse before it gets better, judging by current fossil fuel production projections, reports Axios' Ben Geman.

Reproduced from The Production Gap Report: 2020 Special Report; Chart: Axios Visuals

The bottom line: Guterres urged American students and citizens to do “everything you can” to get their governments to curb emissions more quickly, because no climate plan works without the U.S. playing a major role.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Jan 25, 2021 - Energy & Environment
Column / Harder Line

Biden ushers in historical turn on clean energy and climate change

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Like the curve of Earth we can’t see from the ground, we’re on a curve in history that we won’t fully recognize until decades in the future.

Driving the news: The inauguration of President Biden completes an economic and political consensus that climate change is an urgent threat the world should aggressively address. Whether this consensus produces action remains deeply uncertain.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Senator Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Senator Leader Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

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