Geneva, 9 May 2022 (WMO) – There is a 50:50 chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years – and the likelihood is increasing with time, according to a new climate update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
In 2015, the chances of world temperatures temporarily exceeding 1.5C over the next five years were close to zero. Those odds have been inching up ever since as humans continue to emit greenhouse gas, primarily from the use of fossil fuels.
Scientists have warned that the world needs to limit global warming to 1.5C above the temperatures experienced before industrialization to avoid the more catastrophic effects of the climate crisis. In 2015, most of the world signed the Paris Agreement, aiming to limit temperature rise to 2C, but preferably 1.5C.
Even at 1.5C, many of the world’s coral reefs will be wiped out, and permafrost in some places could reach a tipping point. Permafrost is “permanently” frozen ground that lies under much of the Arctic, keeping huge stores of carbon dioxide (CO2) locked away. As it melts into warmer temperatures, it releases CO2 and adds to climate change.
Our greenhouse gas emissions are still at near-record highs and until we get emissions down to net-zero, we’re going to continue to see global warming,” Andrew King, said.