2023 is nearly certain to be the hottest year on record. The numbers are stark and unsurprising. Copernicus, Europe’s earth observation agency, said temperatures in October were 0.85C above the average for the month going back 20 years. It was also the sixth consecutive month that Antarctic sea ice extent plunged to a record low. As for the principal cause – burning fossil fuels – a recent UN report showed that governments intended to produce more than double the amount of coal, oil and gas in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting the temperature rise from pre-industrial to 1.5C. According to Dr Samantha Burgess, deputy director of Copernicus, this year is currently averaging 1.43C. Ahead of Cop28, that leaves precious little to play with.