Sweltering 2016 could be hottest year on record

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MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The world is set to notch up a new heat record in 2016 after a sizzling 2015 as global warming stokes more floods and rising sea levels, the U.N. weather agency said on Monday at climate change talks overshadowed by Donald Trump's election win.

President-elect Trump has called climate change a hoax and a source in his transition team says he is seeking quick ways to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to shift the world economy away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said this year would be the warmest since records began in the late 19th century, with average surface temperatures 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years recorded have been in this century.

RELATED: Coastal Alaskan town concerned with global warming, drilling

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Coastal Alaskan town concerned with global warming, drilling
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Coastal Alaskan town concerned with global warming, drilling
FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2006, file photo, Nathan Weyiouanna's abandoned house at the west end of Shishmaref, Alaska, sits on the beach after sliding off during a fall storm in 2005. Unofficial ballot returns from a special election held on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, show a majority of Shishmaref's residents have voted in favor of relocating the community to the mainland amid erosion concerns. (AP Photo/Diana Haecker, File)
** ADVANCE FOR TUESDAY, DEC. 26 **Newtok, Alaska is shown on Wednesday May 24, 2006 where the eroding bank along the Ninglick River at has long been a problem for the village 480 miles west of Anchorage. Erosion is attacking Shishmaref, Kivalina and Newtok so rapidly that residents could be forced to seek refuge somewhere else (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
The eroding bank along the Ninglick River at Newtok, Alaska, shown on May 24, 2006, has long been a problem for the village 480 miles west of Anchorage and scores of other Alaska communities. Erosion is attacking Shishmaref, Kivalina and Newtok so rapidly that residents could be forced to seek refuge somewhere else in a decade, according to a new report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 09: The village of Shishmaref, Alaska, which sits upon the Chukchi sea, is seen on July 9, 2015. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea. Shishmaref has also had to build a seawall due to a decades-long problem with coastal erosion that has shrunk the size of the barrier island the town is built upon. The town was originally supposed to be relocated to a new site, though that plan has been put on hold. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 09: The Chukchi sea is seen near Shishmaref, Alaska, on July 9, 2015. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea. Shishmaref has also had to build a seawall due to a decades-long problem with coastal erosion that has shrunk the size of the barrier island the town is built upon. The town was originally supposed to be relocated to a new site, though that plan has been put on hold. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 09: Cliff Weyiouanna relaxes in his home after breakfast on July 9, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea. Shishmaref has also had to build a seawall due to a decades-long problem with coastal erosion that has shrunk the size of the barrier island the town is built upon. The town was originally supposed to be relocated to a new site, though that plan has been put on hold. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 08: A view of the beach along a barrier island in the Chukchi sea, is seen on July 8, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 07: The tide comes in on a beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 07: Rusting barrels sit on the beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 07: A house sits on the edge of the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 08: Wild flowers grow on a beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 8, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 09: The village of Shishmaref, Alaska, which sits upon the Chukchi sea, is seen on July 9, 2015. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea. Shishmaref has also had to build a seawall due to a decades-long problem with coastal erosion that has shrunk the size of the barrier island the town is built upon. The town was originally supposed to be relocated to a new site, though that plan has been put on hold. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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"Another year. Another record," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement in Marrakesh, Morocco, where almost 200 nations are discussing ways to slow climate change.

The heat, with impacts such as melting Greenland ice and damage to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, was stoked by an El Nino weather event in the Pacific early in the year and by man-made greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

"The extra heat from the powerful El Nino event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue," he said. The WMO said it was "very likely" that 2016 would be the hottest, barring a freak chill in coming weeks.

PARIS DEAL

The Paris deal, backed by almost 200 nations including the United States but rejected by Trump, has an overriding goal of limiting the rise in temperatures to "well below" 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times, ideally 1.5C (2.7F).

Earlier on Monday a scientific report projected that world carbon dioxide emissions were expected to stay flat for the third year in a row in 2016 and that U.S. emissions would fall by 1.7 percent in 2016, driven by declines in coal consumption.

U.S. President Barack Obama has made fighting climate change a key policy and the United States was the driving force behind the design of the Paris Agreement.

"Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen," Taalas said.

"'Once in a generation' heat waves and flooding are becoming more regular. Sea level rise has increased exposure to storm surges associated with tropical cyclones," he said.

The most damaging weather event in 2016 was Hurricane Matthew, which killed more than 500 people in Haiti, it said. The Yangtze basin in China had its worst summer floods since 1999, killing 310 people and causing an estimated $14 billion in damage.

Record daily temperatures were recorded from South Africa to Thailand. Canada had its worst recorded wildfire in May around Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Data from the U.N. refugee agency said 19.2 million people were displaced by weather, water, climate and hazards such as earthquakes in 2015, more than twice as many as for conflict and violence, it said.

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