2016 was the warmest year on record; the third year in a row to break the previous temperature record.
Between 2015 and 2016, there has been an increase in global surface temperatures of 0.1-0.12 degrees Celsius due to long term anthropogenic release of CO2. Temperatures have been increasing since the industrial revolution at a steady rate, with the global mean now 2 degrees Celsius higher than it was in the 19th Century.
Most of this warming has occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. This all coincides with record lows of arctic sea ice of 12.10 million square kilometers (4.67 million square miles), the second lowest December extent in the satellite record.
The presence of a particularly powerful El Niño across 2015/16 has also provided some contribution to this rise, of ~0.2 degrees Celsius, although it isn’t a driver of long term trends.
El Niño occurs when a band of unusually warm water develops in parts of the Pacific and causes a change in weather patterns across the planet. This typically causes droughts in the Western Pacific and tropical cyclones to develop in South America, lasting approximately 9-12 months at a time, and occurring once every ~2-7 years.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predict that the global mean temperatures will rise 2-7 °C by 2100 if pCO2 emissions continue at their current rate, which means that more effort must be made to reduce this rate.
Ways in which you can lower your carbon footprint and reduce emissions, involve; switching to renewable sources of energy like wind or solar, recycling waste, reducing your use of transport and using zero-emission alternatives like cycling, going paperless and installing smart meters to monitor energy usage.