The Associated PressSeptember 10, 2020 4:38:45 pm IST
The world is nearing a temperature limit set five years ago by world leaders and could exceed it in the next decade, according to a new report from the United Nations.
In the next five years, the world has almost one in four chances of experiencing a year hot enough to bring global temperature 1
These 1.5 degrees Celsius are the stricter of two limit values set by world leaders in the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. A 2018 UN science report said a world hotter than this still survives, but the likelihood of dangerous problems increases enormously.
The report follows a wild weekend in the United States: scorching heat, recording of forest fires in California, and two other Atlantic storms that set records for the earliest storms of the 16th and 17th name.
Earlier this year, Death Valley reached 54.4 degrees Celsius and Siberia reached 38 degrees Celsius.
The warming that has already occurred has “increased the likelihood of extreme events unprecedented in our historical experience,” said Stanford University climate researcher Noah Diffenbaugh.
For example, historic global warming has increased the likelihood of record-breaking hot extremes in more than 80 percent of the world and “doubled or even tripled the likelihood of record-breaking heat in the California region and western United States in recent weeks,” added Diffenbaugh added.
The world has warmed nearly 1.1 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century, and the last five years have been hotter than the last five years, the report said. The acceleration may or may not be temporary. According to Petteri Taalas, general secretary of the World Meteorological Organization, there has been both man-made warming and natural warming from a strong weather pattern in El Nino over the past five years.
“The probability of 1.5 degrees (Celsius) is growing year on year,” Taalas said The Associated Press. “It is very likely that if we don’t change our behavior, it will happen in the next decade.”
That may be faster than a 2018 UN report stated: the world would likely reach 1.5 degrees between 2030 and 2052.
Breakthrough Institute climate researcher Zeke Hausfather, who was not part of the new report, said the document was a good update of what scientists already know. It is “absolutely clear that rapid climate change is continuing and the world is far from being on the right track” to meet the Paris climate goals, he said.
Some countries, including the US and many in Europe, are reducing emissions of carbon dioxide that traps heat, but Taalas said the world is on a path that will be three degrees warmer than it was in the late 19th century. That would be above the less stringent two-degree Celsius target of the Paris Agreement.
The most recent report was the United Nations’ annual update on “Climate Disorders” Caused by Burning Coal, Oil and Gas. More than just rising temperatures and rising sea levels were highlighted.
“Record heat, ice loss, forest fires, floods and droughts continue to deteriorate affecting communities, nations and economies around the world,” wrote United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a foreword.
Guterres said major polluting countries like China, the United States and India need to become carbon neutral by 2050 and not need to add heat scavenging gas to the atmosphere.
If not, “all the effort will not be enough,” Guterres said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The report highlights unprecedented forest fires in the Amazon, the Arctic and Australia. California is battling record fires when the report was released.
“Drought and heat waves have significantly increased the risk of forest fires,” the report said. “The top three economic losses from forest fires have all occurred in the past four years.”
Taalas said these types of climate catastrophes will last at least into the 2060s, as gases already in the air trap heat.
Carbon emissions will decrease by four to seven percent this year due to reduced travel and industrial activity during the coronavirus pandemic, but the heat scavenger gas will stay in the air for a century, so the atmosphere will keep rising, Taalas said. And, he said, the warming too.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this year is the second most important in existence and has a 37 percent chance of breaking the world record set in 2016.