World to breach 1.5C warming threshold within five years, WMO warns
A new report that adds to alarming evidence of how quickly the planet is heating has revealed that the world is increasingly likely to experience global warming of 1.5C within the next five years because of record GreenHouse Gas (GHG) levels.
The report published, yesterday, by World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the UK Met Office said there is a 48 per cent chance earth’s yearly temperature will exceed 1.5C of warming, compared with pre-industrial levels, in one of the years between now and 2026.
“That probability is likely to keep rising. The chance of exceeding 1.5C of warming was close to zero just seven years ago for the subsequent five-year period, according to the data. If we’re going to keep to 1.5C, that may be difficult now,” said Leon Hermanson, a Met Office researcher who led the report.
WMO secretary-general, Petteri Taalas, said: “The 1.5C figure is not some random statistic. It’s an indicator of the point at which climate impacts will become increasingly harmful for people and indeed the entire planet.”
Scientists have generally been reticent about predicting when exactly the 1.5C threshold will be crossed, with an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, last year, saying long-term average temperatures were likely to reach 1.5C higher within 20 years.
Experts say the planet has already warmed about 1.1C compared with pre-industrial times, even as the continuing war in Ukraine has further set back climate co-operation, with some countries planning to burn more coal to replace Russian gas supplies.
The Met Office and WMO scientists analysed about 120 different climate forecasts to calculate the chance of temporarily passing 1.5C.
According to the report, the hottest year on record was very likely to fall within the next five years.
WMO said: “Global temperatures are likely to increase in the five-year period 2022-2026. Severe heat waves, fires, droughts and floods are among the effects that are becoming more likely as the world gets warmer. A prolonged heat wave across northwest India and Pakistan, this month, led to coal shortages and power blackouts. For as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases, temperatures will continue to rise.”