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The world, one step away from crossing the red line of global warming


The world is one step away from crossing the global warming red line. This is stated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which after analyzing new climate data has warned that there is a 50% probability that, in at least one of the next five years, the average annual temperature of the planet will temporarily exceed pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C, which correspond to the average of the period 1850-1900. And those odds increase over time. The Paris Agreement set a goal not to reach that level of warming during this century.

There is also a 93% chance that at least one of the years in the period between now and 2026 will become the warmest on record and unseat 2016 from first place.

Even more: the probability that the five-year average of the period 2022-2026 is higher than that of 2017-2021 is also 93%according to the publication ‘Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update’ (global climate bulletin), produced by the UK Meteorological Office, the main WMO center responsible for making such predictions.

The Paris Agreement set as a goal not to exceed 1.5ºC with respect to pre-industrial levels in this century, an objective revalidated in successive COPs. However, the room for maneuver to achieve that limit is narrowing.

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And the last number indicates that In 2015, the probability that global warming would exceed pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C at some point was almost zero, but since then it has continued to increase.

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The WMO offers more data: “While for the period between 2017 and 2021 the probability of exceeding the indicated threshold was 10%, for the period from 2022 to 2026 that percentage has increased to almost 50%”.

Harmful effects for the entire planet

“This high-level scientific study shows that we are noticeably closer to temporarily exceeding the lower limit of the Paris Agreement on climate change”, highlights the Secretary General of the WMO, Petteri Taalas. And this 1.5°C threshold is not a random number, but indicates “the point at which the effects of climate will be increasingly harmful not only for people, but for the entire planet,” he adds.

Exceeding the limit of 1.5°C will cause a Domino effect: “As long as greenhouse gas emissions do not stop, temperatures will continue to rise. In parallel, the oceans will continue to warm and becoming more acidic, sea ​​ice and glaciers will continue to melt, sea levels will continue to rise, and weather conditions will become more extreme. The heating is excessive most pronounced in the Arctic and what happens in that region affects us all”, highlights Taalas.

The WMO, authorized spokesperson for the United Nations on weather, climate and water, has recalled that the Paris Agreement established in 2015 long-term goals to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the planet and thus maintain global temperature rise this century to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, while continuing efforts to limit that increase to 1.5°C.

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Happens that even 1.5°C global warming will exacerbate the climate-related risks to which natural and human systems are currently exposedalthough, yes, to a lesser extent than if global warming reaches 2°C, as pointed out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Sustained increase in temperature

“According to our most recent climate predictions, the sustained rise in global temperature will continueand there is a 50% chance that in one of the years of the 2022-2026 period, global warming will exceed pre-industrial levels by 1.5 °C, ”says Leon Hermanson, an expert from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office in charge of the elaboration of the bulletin.

“However, if that value of 1.5°C were exceeded in a given year, this would not mean that the symbolic threshold of the Paris Agreement had been exceeded, but it would show that we are getting closer to a situation where the 1.5°C limit could be exceeded for an extended period of time”, warns.

Among the bulletin’s conclusions, it stands out that For each year between now and 2026, the average annual surface temperature of the planet as a whole is expected to be between 1.1°C and 1.7°C higher than pre-industrial levels.. Also that compared to the average recorded from 1991 to 2020 Arctic temperature anomaly is projected to be more than three times the global average anomaly.


Environment section contact: crisisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

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