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UN Forecasts Unprecedented Temperatures in Next 5 Years

UN Forecasts Unprecedented Temperatures in Next 5 Years

The United Nations (UN) has cautioned that there’s an 80% probability of Earth’s temperatures surpassing the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next five years. This target, established by the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, aimed to restrict the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels over the long term, spanning decades rather than short intervals, clarifies the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

This warning coincides with a report from the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, indicating that last month marked the hottest May on record. These findings underscore the impact of human-induced climate change, prompting UN chief Antonio Guterres to liken humanity’s influence on the planet to “the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs.”

Read more: Rising temperatures cause deadly floods, highlighting the climate crisis

The likelihood of temporarily breaching the 1.5°C threshold in the next five years has steadily increased since 2015, when the probability was nearly zero, observes the UN’s weather and climate agency. According to the WMO, there’s an 80% chance that the annual average global temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels at least once within the next five years.

The repercussions of dramatic climate shifts are becoming increasingly evident worldwide, manifesting in extreme weather events, floods, droughts, accelerated glacier melting, and rising sea levels.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented warming trend,” remarked WMO deputy chief Ko Barrett during a press conference in Geneva. “WMO is issuing a warning that we will see more frequent temporary exceedances of the 1.5°C threshold.” Barrett noted that “we have already experienced temporary breaches of this level for individual months.”

Temperature records continue to be shattered, with 2023 registering as the hottest year on record, amid forecasts that 2024 could surpass it. The WMO anticipates that the mean near-surface temperature for each year from 2024 to 2028 will range between 1.1 to 1.9 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels recorded between 1850 and 1900.