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Hotter Than Ever: 2023 Sets New Global Temperature Records

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charting rising global temperature records

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Charting Record-Breaking Monthly Global Temperatures

As local heat records are being broken across the planet, July 2023 also saw the global average temperature soar to an unprecedented 17.2°C (62.9°F).

In fact, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the four hottest days on record occurred from July 4 to July 7, 2023, breaking the previous record of 16.9°C (62.4°F) set in mid-August 2016.

The above graphic charts the average air temperature at 2 meters above the surface, since 1979, using data from Climate Reanalyzer.

What is Causing Record High Temperatures?

Temperature records were shattered in both 2023 and 2016 as a result of the dual impact of the El Niño climate phenomenon, which causes a significant rise in Pacific Ocean temperatures, and climate change.

Earth’s average global temperature has risen by at least 1.1°C (1.9°F) since 1880, and the pace has significantly increased in the last century alongside the burning of fossil fuels. The majority of the warming has occurred since 1975, with temperatures rising 0.15 to 0.20°C per decade.

According to the NOAA, six of the most recent months of July (typically the hottest month) were among the seven hottest months recorded by average global surface temperature:

RankHottest Months
by Avg. Temp.
Celsius (°C)
1July 2023*17.07°C
2July 202216.75°C
3July 201616.72°C
4July 202116.70°C
5July 200216.67°C
6July 201716.66°C
7July 201916.64°C

*As of July 12, 2023

Although these figures show marginal increases in the world’s average temperatures, the effects are far more noticeable on a local scale.

In July 2023, temperatures in Texas surpassed those of Northern Africa, as they reached 43.3°C (110°F). Across the Pacific, cities around China used bomb shelters as cooling centers during a 10-day streak of days above 35°C (95°F).

“We are in uncharted territory and we can expect more records to fall as El Niño develops further and these impacts will extend into 2024,”
– Christopher Hewitt, World Meteorological Organization

How to Mitigate Climate Change?

Transitioning to renewable energy sources, reducing or capturing greenhouse gas emissions, and implementing sustainable practices are considered key steps towards slowing climate change.

According to NASA, the future will also require adaptation, reducing our risks from the harmful effects of climate change (such as sea-level rise, more intense extreme weather events, or food insecurity) as well as taking advantage of any potential positive opportunities associated with climate change (such as longer growing seasons and higher yields in some regions).

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Ranked: Top 20 Countries by Plastic Waste per Capita

Visualizing plastic waste per capita reveals a surprising list of countries that you may not have expected.

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Ranked: Top 20 Countries by Plastic Waste per Capita

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Single-use plastic waste is perhaps one of the biggest environmental issues of our time. Every year, millions of tons of plastic end up in oceans and landfills, harming wildlife and ecosystems.

To make matters worse, plastics take hundreds of years to decompose, leading to long-term environmental and health hazards as they break down into microplastics that contaminate water and food sources.

In this graphic, we visualized the top 20 countries that generated the most single-use plastic waste per capita in 2019, measured in kilograms per person. Figures come from research published in May 2021, which we sourced from Statista.

Data and Key Takeaways

The data we used to create this graphic is listed in the table below.

RankCountryKg per personPounds per person
1🇸🇬 Singapore76168
2🇦🇺 Australia59130
3🇴🇲 Oman56123
4🇳🇱 Netherlands55121
5🇧🇪 Belgium55121
6🇮🇱 Israel55121
7🇭🇰 Hong Kong55121
8🇨🇭 Switzerland53117
9🇺🇸 U.S.53117
10🇦🇪 UAE52115
11🇨🇱 Chile51112
12🇰🇷 S. Korea4497
13🇬🇧 UK4497
14🇰🇼 Kuwait4088
15🇳🇿 New Zealand3986
16🇮🇪 Ireland3986
17🇫🇮 Finland3884
18🇯🇵 Japan3782
19🇫🇷 France3679
20🇸🇮 Slovenia3577

Countries from all around the world are present in this ranking, highlighting how plastic waste isn’t concentrated in any one region.

It’s also interesting to note how most of the countries in this top 20 ranking are wealthier, more developed nations. These nations have higher levels of consumption, with greater access to packaged goods, take-out services, and disposable products, all of which rely on single-use plastics.

Where’s China and India?

Note that we’ve visualized plastic waste per capita, which is different from the total amount of waste produced by a country. It is for this reason that major polluters, such as China and India, are not present in this ranking.

It’s also worth noting that this focuses on the demand side of plastics, rather than where plastic products were initially created or produced.

If you’re interested to see more visuals on plastic waste, check out Which Countries Pollute the Most Ocean Plastic Waste?.

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