World Meteorological Organisation has warned that the global temperature will break a critical temperature limit within the next five year.
It is estimated that 66% of the time, a global temperature average 1.5C will be exceeded at least once before 2027. This would be a first in human history.
Nearly all countries have committed themselves to limiting global warming to 1.5C or less above pre-industrial levels.
The nations did this at the COP21 Climate Conference when they signed the historic Paris Climate Agreement, to make the harmful impacts of climate changes, such as flooding, rising sea levels, and droughts more manageable.
Scientists stress that, while it is alarming to see the world surpass 1.5C, this does not mean we have permanently crossed the threshold.
The 1.5C target is a crumbling target that could encourage big polluters
Since the Paris Agreement of 2015, climate change narratives have focused on efforts to limit the warming to 1.5C over pre-industrial temperatures.
The language used at successive UN climate summits may have changed a bit, from “keep it within reach” to “keep it alive”, to finally, not letting 1.5C die, but it has remained a symbol around which most discussions have revolved.
Scientists say that for the first, it’s more likely than not that the barrier will be broken in the next five years.
They stressed that it is temporary, but still alarming. A sharp reduction in emissions could bring down the temperature over time.
This is the type of moment that keeps people up at night who are fighting climate change.
The worst thing for policymakers and climate diplomacy to happen is to see this shared goal, which has been a hard-fought value, crumble.
If the international community begins to believe that 1.5 has been eliminated, it will allow big polluters – national and commercial – to escape their obligations and slow down progress at a moment when the planet cannot afford it.
It would take many more global temperatures to surpass 1.5C before climate warming can be permanently attributed to this level.
It is an indication that the world is moving closer and that mankind’s attempts to curb climate change caused by fossil fuels have been too slow and insufficient.
Dr Leon Hermanson, of the Met Office Hadley Centre and one of the experts that led the report, stated: “We never exceeded 1.5C. The current record is 1,28C.
It’s likely that we’ll exceed this, and we may even reach 1.5C. This is more likely than not.
Doug Parr is the Chief Scientist of Greenpeace UK. He said, “This report should be a rallying call to intensify efforts worldwide to combat climate change.”
He said that every “tenth degree” of global warming we avoid will reduce the likelihood of extreme weather around the world, and the human costs associated with it.
Only 32% of the time will the average five-year temperature exceed 1.5C.
The global temperature has already risen by at least 1.1C.
WMO said that there was a 98% probability of breaking the record for the hottest year ever recorded during this time.
Dr Hermanson stated that the record is likely to be a combination between greenhouse gases and an naturally occurring weather event called El Nino. This is a warming of the eastern Pacific, which affects global temperatures and rainfall.
WMO stated that La Nina, its opposite, has been cooling the atmosphere for most of the past three years. However, this has now stopped.
El Nino usually raises the global temperature in the first year following its emergence. Scientists expect temperatures to increase in 2024.
What is El Nino? How does it affect our weather?
El Nino, a natural weather phenomenon that occurs when temperatures rise in the eastern Pacific Ocean, sets off a chain of events which affects heat and rain across the globe.
El Nino events can last from several months to a year.
Scientists expect temperatures to rise in 2024.
El Nino is a warming phenomenon, while La Nina has a cooling impact. Temperatures usually rise or fall by three degrees.
It can take a while for the knock-on effect of El Nino and La Nina, both of which peak in December.
El Nino means that summers can be hotter and dryer in the UK, while La Nina usually brings more rain.
During El Nino, winters in northern Europe are often colder and dryer, while those in southern Europe experience more rain.
The scientific understanding of weather phenomena and climate change is always evolving.
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WMO General Secretary Professor Petteri Táalas stated: “A warming El Nino will develop in the next few months, and this combined with human-induced global climate change will push temperatures to uncharted levels.
This will have far-reaching consequences for health, water management, and the environment. “We need to prepare.”
IPCC, the United Nations’ climate science body, has stated that every increment of warming causes more damage to humans and wildlife. It’s not at a cliff’s edge but rather a threshold more desirable.
Climate Action Tracker, a leading climate group, says that current plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are putting the world on track for a warming of around 2.4C by the end this century.
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