The world is getting closer to passing a temperature limit set by global leaders five years ago and it can exceed that limit within the next decade.
In the next five years, the earth has nearly a 25 percent chance of experiencing a year that’s hot enough to raise worldwide temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) well over pre-industrial times, as per the latest science update released on Wednesday by the United Nation, World Meteorological Organization, and other global science groups.
That 1.5 degrees Celsius was the more stringent of two limits set in 2015 by world leaders during the Paris global climate change agreement. A 2018 United Nations science report said a world hotter than will also survive, but chances of dangerous problems increase tremendously.
“The warming of Earth has already increased the odds of extreme events that are unprecedented in our historical experience”, Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said. For example, historical global warming has increased the chances of record-setting hot extremes at over 80 percent of the world, and has “doubled or maybe tripled the chances over the region of California and the western United States that has experienced record-setting heat in recent weeks”, Diffenbaugh added.
The world already has warmed nearly 1.1C (2F) since the late 1800s, and five years are hotter than the previous five years, the report said. The speed-up could be temporary, or it’d not be.
The powerful El Nino weather pattern indicates man-made warming as well as natural warming in the past five years, said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“The probability of 1.5 degrees is growing year by year,” Taalas said. “It’s very likely to happen within the next decade if we do not change our behavior.” That is potentially faster than what a 2018 UN report found – that the planet was likely to hit 1.5C sometime between 2030 and 2052.
Breakthrough Institute climate scientist Zeke Hausfather, who not being part of the new report, said the document was an honest update of what the scientists already know. It’s “abundantly clear that rapid climate change is continuing and the world is far from on track” towards meeting the Paris climate goals, he said.
Some countries, including the U.S and Europe, are reducing emissions of heat-trapping CO2, but Taalas said the planet is on a path which will be 3C (5.4F) warmer compared with the late 19th century that might be above the Paris accord’s less stringent 2C target.
The recent UN report updates on annual “climate disruption” caused by the burning of coal, oil, and gas. It highlighted not only increasing temperatures but also rising sea levels.
“Record heat, ice loss, wildfires, floods, and droughts continue to worsen, affecting communities, nations, and economies around the world,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote during a foreword.
The report spotlights unprecedented wildfires within the Amazon, the Arctic, and Australia. California is fighting record wildfires meanwhile report was issued. “Drought and heat waves substantially increased the risk of wildfires,” the report said. “The three largest economic losses on record from wildfires have all occurred within the last four years.”
The emissions of Carbon dioxide has been reduced from 4 percent to 7 percent this year in the wake of limited travel and few industrial activities on the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, but the heat-trapping gas stays within the air for a century, therefore the levels within the atmosphere still go up, Taalas said. And, he said, so will the warming.
So far, this year is considered as the second-hottest on record and encompasses a 37 percent chance of surpassing the worldwide record set in 2016, consistent with the United States National Oceanic and the Atmospheric Administration.