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World likely to breach 1.5C climate threshold by 2027: WMO

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    19th May, 2023

Context

The world is almost certain to experience new record temperatures in the next five years, and temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, scientists have warned.

Key-highlights of the Report

Previous breaches: Global average surface temperatures have never before breached the 1.5C threshold. The highest average in previous years was 1.28C above pre-industrial levels.

  • The report found there was a 66% likelihood of exceeding the 1.5C threshold in at least one year between 2023 and 2027.
    • For each year from 2023 to 2027, the global near-surface temperature is predicted to be between 1.1C and 1.8C above the pre-industrial average, taken from the years 1850 to 1900.
  • Heat waves: New record temperatures have been set in many areas around the world in the heatwaves of the past year, but those highs may only be the beginning, as climate breakdown and the impact of a developing El Niño weather system combine to create heatwaves across the globe.
  • El Niño and La Niña: El Niño is part of an oscillating weather system that develops in the Pacific. For the past three years, the world has been in the opposing phase, known as La Niña, which has had a dampening effect on temperature increases around the world.
    • As La Niña ends and a new El Niño develops, there is a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years will be the hottest on record, the scientists found.

How would it impact?

  • This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment.
  • There is likely to be less rainfall this year in the Amazon, Central America, Australia and Indonesia.
    • That could have calamitous consequences for the planet, which relies on rainforests as massive carbon sinks.

2015 Paris Climate Agreement

Countries have pledged, under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, to try to hold global temperatures to no higher than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, after scientific advice that heating beyond that level would unleash a cascade of increasingly catastrophic and potentially irreversible impacts.

Way Forward

This November, governments will meet for the Cop28 UN climate summit, where they will assess progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris agreement. Known as the “global stocktake”, this assessment is likely to show that the world is far off track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the 43% this decade that is required to have a good chance of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C.

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