The world is almost certain to experience new record temperatures in the next five years, and temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, scientists have warned.
The breaching of the crucial 1.5C threshold, which scientists have warned could have dire consequences, should be only temporary, according to research from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
However, it would represent a marked acceleration of human impacts on the global climate system, and send the world into “uncharted territory”, the UN agency warned.
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Countries have pledged, under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, to try to hold global temperatures to no higher than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, after scientific advice that heating beyond that level would unleash a cascade of increasingly catastrophic and potentially irreversible impacts.
Prof Petteri Taalas, the secretary general of the WMO, said: “This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5C specified in the Paris agreement, which refers to long-term warming over many years. However, WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency.”
Global average surface temperatures have never before breached the 1.5C threshold. The highest average in previous years was 1.28C above pre-industrial levels.