The global average temperature of the surface of the earth has been rising since the turn of the century. Analysis by the World Meteorological Organization, published in 2021 in its State of the Global Climate 2020, showed that the past six years (2015–2020) have been the warmest on record. The year 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record. In June, the highest temperature on record anywhere north of the Artic Circle was recorded, and in September, the Arctic minimum sea-ice extent was the second lowest ever on record.

The sixth assessment report by the International Panel on Climate Change predicts that surface temperatures will continue to increase until mid-century, regardless of what mitigating actions are taken to reduce emissions. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded unless deep cuts are made in the coming decades. It is “unequivocal” that human activity has resulted in unprecedented changes to our climate (over and above what would be expected from natural processes).

This topic describes national and global initiatives to tackle climate change and the impact of climate-related legislation on business.

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