2016 was the record warmest year

It’s official. 2016 was the hottest year on record, and it’s had a devastating effect on people living in poverty.

It’s the third consecutive hottest year since records began in 1880.

The announcement was made by NASA and the US's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

It’s being blamed mainly on increased greenhouse gases and partly also on the weather phenomenon El Niño, which hit hardest at the start of the year.

Unpredictable rainfall has meant more droughts and floods. More droughts mean a greater risk of famine, more floods mean greater destruction of homes and livelihoods. There’s also the potential for infectious diseases to spread widely.

NASA and NOAA have been providing an independent record of the world’s surface temperatures, as well as changes based on historical observations over oceans and land.

Paul Cook, Tearfund’s Director of Advocacy says:

‘With 2016 setting the new record for the world’s hottest year, it reminds us how rapid climate change is, and how it brings more intense droughts, storms and floods – and more people going hungry.

'Increasingly, we hear comments such as this from a church leader in Malawi: "We had two weather patterns which could be specified clearly – winter (the cold season) and summer (the hot season). It feels like we have one season (hot) now."

'We can’t beat poverty and injustice unless we beat climate change, and we are the only generation who will have the chance to do that.  That's why it is urgent that we take action.'

Prayer points

• Pray for vulnerable people who are most affected by climate change, by flooding and droughts.

• Ask God for wisdom for how you can live in a way that honours God’s creation.

• Pray for our world leaders, lawmakers and influencers to take action to protect us from climate change, as they promised at the historic Paris climate agreement at the end of 2015.

You can be part of the answer to these prayers by joining the Renew Our World campaign.