We're living in the 'warmest decade on record' - U.N.

(UPSOT) (English) VARIOUS PEOPLE SAYING:

"It's so... hot. It's so... hot. It's just so... hot"

It really is so hot.

Or, put more scientifically, the past decade is likely to be the hottest since records began in 1850.

That's the assessment of the World Meteorological Organization on Tuesday (December 3) in a report that paints a bleak picture of vanishing sea ice, devastating heatwaves and encroaching sea levels.

It says average temperatures for the five-year and ten-year periods ending in 2019 are almost certain to be the hottest on record, and 2019 is on course to be the second or third warmest year.

Other findings included that sea water is 26 percent more acidic than at the start of the industrial era, degrading marine ecosystems, and that Arctic sea ice neared record lows in September and October, while Antarctica also saw record low ice several times this year.

A stream of dire environmental reports, such as this one, have fueled activism and prompted some companies to commit to slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

But delegates at the United Nations climate conference currently taking place in Madrid face an uphill battle in persuading some of the world's major emitters to embrace the kind of radical change that experts, such as WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, say is needed.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PETTERI TAALAS, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO), SAYING:

"There's no reason to be totally pessimistic that nothing is happening. I think things are happening but so far the ambition level hasn't been high enough."

Experts warn that climate change has been a key driver of a recent rise in global hunger, following a decade of steady declines, with more than 820 million people without enough food in 2018.

And the WMO report also emphasized that weather disasters have displaced millions of people this year.