2014 is the hottest average temperature on Earth since records began.
It’s only half a degree (Celsius) up on the 20th Century average, but that’s still half a degree in a human lifetime. This is no longer a geological-scale process of warming.
To bring this back home quite succinctly, this animation demonstrates the process of rising temperatures very well.
Two points to make a note on – the 1944 record stood for 36 years, until 1980; note also the massive jump between 1997 (a record year) and 1998 (another record year) – and it’s not as though that record stood for years, it was surpassed not very long after at all.