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It’s becoming increasingly likely that the world will break a key temperature limit in the next five years, scientists warned Thursday.
There’s now a 40 percent chance that by 2025, we will see a year with an average global temperature that is 1.5 degrees Celsius — 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit — above what it was in the late 1800s, according to a report from the World Meteorological Organization.
That temperature increase is cited by the Paris Agreement as a benchmark to avoid in order to prevent catastrophic, long-term effects of climate change. The agreement ultimately aims to keep the increase below 2 degrees Celsius.
“We’re seeing accelerating change in our climate,” Randall Cerveny, a climate scientist at Arizona State University, told NPR.
“We had had some hopes that, with last year’s COVID scenario, perhaps the lack of travel [and] the lack of industry might act as a little bit of a brake. But what we’re seeing is, frankly, it has not,” he added.
Joeri Rogelj, a climate scientist at Imperial College London, said the report indicates that not enough is being done to prevent global warming.
“A single year hitting 1.5C therefore doesn’t mean the Paris limits are breached, but is nevertheless very bad news,” Rogelj told the BBC.
“It tells us once again that climate action to date is wholly insufficient and emissions need to be reduced urgently to zero to halt global warming.”
The world is already 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times, NPR reported.
Scientists in the report also warned that there’s a 90 percent chance that the world will set yet another record for the hottest year by the end of 2025.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas declared findings a “wakeup call.”
“It is yet another wakeup call that the world needs to fast-track commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality,” Taalas wrote in the report.
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