The recent climate data from the UN weather agency suggests that the world could see average global temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average for the first time in the coming five years(2020-2024), the agency said on Thursday, July 9.
The 1.5 C mark is the level to which countries have agreed to try to limit global warming. At this point, the consequences linked to global warming become more severe, difficult and expensive to adapt to, protect ourselves from, and control further temperature increases.
According to scientists, average temperatures around the world are already at least 1 C higher now than during the pre-industrial period from 1850-1900 because of man-made greenhouse emissions.
The World Meteorological Organization said there is a 20 per cent chance that the 1.5 C level will be exceeded in at least one year between 2020 and 2024. During this period, annual average temperatures are expected to rise 0.91 C to 1.59 C higher than pre-industrial averages.
The forecast is contained in an annual climate outlook spearheaded by the United Kingdoms Met Office. The consequences of breaching the 1.5 C marks include 70 per cent loss of corals and loss of half the habitat of insects, including food pollinators, by the end of the century. This can lead to global food security issues, along with accelerating frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
WMO chief Petteri Taalas said the study shows the "enormous challenge" countries face in meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris Accord, which sets a goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and ideally not more than 1.5 C. The agency added that the models the used for the forecast did not consider the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic might have on reducing emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide.
"The industrial and economic slowdown from COVID-19 is not a substitute for sustained and coordinated climate action," Taalas said.
"Due to the very long lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere, the impact of the drop in emissions this year is not expected to lead to a reduction of CO2 atmospheric concentrations which are driving global temperature increases," he added.Also Read: South Pole Warmed Three Times Faster Than Global Average In Last 30 Years: Study