In the Paris Agreement on Climate Change Some 200 countries agreed, albeit in a non-binding way, on a 1.5°C to 2°C limit on global temperature rise by the end of the century. However, the Earth already registers an increase of 1.1°C. It is for this reason that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned that there is “a 50% chance that, in at least one of the next five years, the average annual temperature of the planet will temporarily exceed the lower limit” previously established.
“This threshold of 1.5°C 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.”, explained the teacher Petteri TaalasWMO Secretary General. In a report issued by this entity dependent on the United Nations (UN), it was found that “the sustained increase in temperatures due to climate change will continue in the coming years.”
Therefore, they warned thatAs long as greenhouse gas emissions continue, the climate will become more and more extreme.”. Therefore, they pointed out that “there is a 50% probability that, at least in one of the next five years, the average annual temperature of the planet temporarily exceeds pre-industrial levels by 1.5 °C, the lower limit of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change”. Moreover, according to the scientists, “these probabilities increase with the passage of time.”
“The chances of global warming exceeding that mark (1.5°C) were close to zero in 2015, but have been increasing ever since. For the period covered between 2017 and 2021 they were calculated at 10%, while for the period from 2022 to 2026 that percentage reaches almost 50%”, highlighted the experts.
They even detailed that “there is a 93% chance that at least one of the years in the period between 2022 and 2026 becomes the warmest ever recorded and unseat 2016 from first place”. “As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue, temperatures will continue to rise. In parallel, the oceans will continue to warm and become more acidic, sea ice and glaciers will continue to melt, sea level will continue to rise and weather conditions will become more and more extreme. The warming is disproportionately more pronounced in the Arctic and what happens in that region affects us all”, Taalas described.
“If one year of the 2022-2026 period this value of 1.5 °C were exceeded, this would not mean that the symbolic threshold of the Paris Agreement had been exceeded, but it would show that we’re getting closer and closer to a situation where the 1.5°C limit could be exceeded for an extended period of time,” said the UK Met Office expert, Leon Hermansonone of those responsible for preparing the report.
The document also highlighted that for each year between 2022 and 2026, the average annual temperature is expected to be between 1.1°C and 1.7°C higher than pre-industrial levels, for which there is “a 48% chance that, in at least one of the years, the global near-surface temperature will exceed pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C”although they clarified that “the probability that the five-year average exceeds that threshold is minimal (10%)”.
Among other points, the report warns that in 2021 “the global average temperature was 1.1 °C above pre-industrial reference levels”. However, thanks to consecutive episodes of the phenomenon known as “La Niña”, beginning and end of the year, there was a reduction in global temperatures. “But that cooling effect is only temporary and does not reverse the long-term global warming trend”, they clarified.
Instead, if episodes of the phenomenon called “El Niño” were to be established, there would be an almost immediate rise in temperatures. An effect that was already evident in 2016, the year described as the “warmest on record to date”. In any case, the experts clarified that, “at the moment, there are no indications that point to the formation of an El Niño episode in the quarter from December to February 2022/2023.”