By Alfred Koroma
The world is likely to get warmer, exceeding the 1.5C limit, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned last week.
If the world’s temperature goes higher than 1.5C, it would make the world warmer than it was in the second half of the 19th Century. This will be calamitous, having a far-reaching effect on health, food security, water management and the environment.
The issue of global temperature hitting 1.5C has been a key topic in climate change negotiations since nations agreed in 2015 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The Paris Agreement sets goals that guide all nations to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature increase. But last year, the United Nations Framework to the Convention on Climate Change warned nations are not doing enough to hit the Paris target.
Now, WMO has predicted there is a 66% chance that the annual average near-surface global temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year, and the five-year period will almost break all temperature records.
“We need to be prepared,” said WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas,” the El Niño weather pattern, combined with human-induced climate change, will “push global temperatures into uncharted territory.”
“This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5°C level 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,” the WMO chief said.
The likelihood that global temperature will exceed 1.5C has risen steadily since 2015. In 2022, the average global temperature was about 1.15C above the 1850-1900 average. But WMO predicts the annual global near-surface temperature for each year between 2023 and 2027 to be 1.1C and 1.8C, higher than the 1850-1900 average.