The world could experience a warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next five years, reports the WMO

LONDON: The world faces a 50 percent chance of warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, albeit briefly, by 2026, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday (May 9).

That doesn’t mean the world would be crossing the long-term warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, which scientists have set as a ceiling to avoid catastrophic climate change.

But a year of warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could offer a taste of what it would be like to cross that threshold in the long term.

“We are getting considerably closer to temporarily reaching the lowest target of the Paris Agreement,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, referring to the climate agreements adopted in 2015.

The chance of exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius for a short period has increased since 2015, with scientists in 2020 estimating a 20 percent chance and revising last year to 40 percent. Even a year of 1.5 degrees Celsius warming can have dire effects, including the death of many of the world’s coral reefs and a shrinking of Arctic sea ice cover.

In terms of the long-term average, the average global temperature is now about 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial average.

“Loss and damage associated with or exacerbated by climate change is already occurring, some of it likely irreversible for the foreseeable future,” said Maxx Dilley, WMO deputy director for climate.

World leaders committed under the 2015 Paris Agreement to avoid crossing the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold in the long term, measured as an average over several decades, but have so far failed to cut emissions that contribute to global warming. . Today’s activities and current policies cause the world to warm by 3.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

“It’s important to remember that once we hit 1.5 degrees Celsius, the lack of science-based emissions policies means we’ll see worsening impacts as we get closer to 1.6 degrees Celsius, 1.7 degrees Celsius and each subsequent warming increment,” said Kim Cobb. , a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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