16 June 2023
According to the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold for global mean temperatures was breached in the first few days of June. This marks the first time the 1.5-degree threshold has been surpassed during the summer months. The ECMWF highlighted that earlier instances of exceeding pre-industrial averages by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius occurred predominantly in the winter and spring seasons, when deviations from historical trends are more pronounced.
The Paris Agreement’s Goal and Thresholds
The 2015 Paris Agreement sets a goal to limit the rise in global mean temperatures compared to pre-industrial times to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, with a preference for restricting it within 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, it is important to note that these thresholds refer to long-term warming trends over a period of 20 to 30 years, rather than daily or annual global temperatures.
Inevitability of Short-Term Breaches
Short-term breaches of the Paris Agreement thresholds, even extending over a few years, are considered inevitable at this point. Various climate change projections, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, indicate that the world is expected to exceed the 1.5-degree threshold before eventually returning to lower levels.
World Meteorological Organization’s Warnings
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued a warning that there is a 66% likelihood of annual global temperatures surpassing the 1.5-degree threshold in at least one of the next five years (2023-2027). Last year, global mean temperatures were already 1.15 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels. The warmest year on record so far is 2016 when global mean temperatures were 1.28 degrees Celsius higher.
Implications for Climate Crisis
These temperature increases and breaches of the 1.5-degree threshold underscore the urgency of addressing the climate crisis. Monitoring the frequency and duration of these breaches is crucial to mitigate the severe consequences of climate change. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy sources, and implement sustainable practices become increasingly important as the world faces the challenges of rising temperatures.
Long-Term Commitment and Collaborative Action
The thresholds set in the Paris Agreement reflect the long-term commitment to combat climate change. Achieving the agreed-upon goals requires sustained efforts over decades. As global temperatures continue to rise, it is essential for countries, organizations, and individuals to work together, adopt environmentally-friendly practices, and develop innovative solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change and safeguard the future of our planet.