The world may soon temporarily exceed the warming threshold of 1.5 ° C – showing how close we are to missing the target of the Paris Agreement


May 10, 2022

Greenhouse gas emissions have brought us closer to 1.5 ° C from global warming

Shutterstock / grynold

The UK Meteorological Service has warned that the world has almost a 50-50 chance of briefly exceeding its crucial 1.5 ° C climate change target in the next five years.

The Paris Agreement aimed to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, a threshold considered vital for limiting the worst effects of global warming on people and ecosystems. This goal will only be missed if the rise in temperature continues for several decades.

Met Office climate models estimate that there is a 48% chance that the average global temperature for any year between 2022 and 2026 will be more than 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels. For the previous five-year period, from 2017 to 2021, the chance was less than 10 percent.

The forecast shows how close the world is to the failure of its climate goals. “This is not a magic threshold and things will not change suddenly,” he said Leon Hermanson at the Met Office, part of the analysis team prepared for the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. “Exceeding one year means nothing; it simply means that we are getting closer and it is a warning that we really need to redouble our efforts to reduce carbon dioxide and reduce the use of fossil fuels. ”

The reason why the chance of temporarily reaching 1.5 ° C increases is a combination of continuing carbon emissions approaching the Earth’s threshold and new temperature data, prompting researchers to revise their estimates of past warming from pre-industrial times.

As human-induced climate change has raised average temperatures, the chances of natural cycles like El Niño pushing us above 1.5 ° C have increased. El Niño could raise temperatures by 0.2 to 0.3 ° C, Hermanson said.

Last month, a major report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said there were still roads where emissions were falling enough to stay below 1.5 ° C from warming. Whether this conclusion can be compared to the new study depends on uncertainty in the models, including how sensitive the climate is to greenhouse gases, said Graham Madge, a spokesman for the Meteorological Service. However, the IPCC report acknowledges that these roads only give a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 ° C.

Hermanson’s report, Global annual to ten-year climate update, also found that there is a 93% chance that one of the next five years will eclipse 2016 as the warmest in history. The analysis offers bad news for California, which is expected to continue the dry weather that has laid the groundwork for wildfires in recent years. Hermanson says there is some good news for the Sahel region of North Africa, where rain-dependent farmers are expected to see wetter conditions than in the past 30 years.

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