The world could reach a climate tipping point in the next five years
CNN — There is now a 40 percent chance that the annual average global temperature will temporarily reach a crucial tipping point in at least one of the next five years, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
The tipping point is described as a 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature increase above pre-industrial levels.
The WMO added that the chances of the threshold being breached are increasing as time goes on.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said breaching the tipping point would increase the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages dramatically.
“These are more than just statistics,” Petteri Taalas, WMO’s secretary-general, said. “Increasing temperatures mean more melting ice, higher sea levels, more heatwaves and other extreme weather, and greater impacts on food security, health, the environment and sustainable development.”
The WMO said the annual average temperature is likely to be at least 1 degree warmer than pre-industrial levels in each of the coming five years, and very likely to be within the range of 0.9 to 1.8 degrees.
It added that 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record and that the global average temperature was 1.2 degrees above the pre-industrial baseline.
The organization said that there was a 90% chance that at least one year between 2021 and 2025 will become the warmest on record, surpassing 2016 in the top ranking, according to the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, produced by the UK’s Met Office, the WMO’s lead center for such predictions.
It’s all the more reason to take urgent action on climate change, according to Taalas.
“We are getting measurably and inexorably closer to the lower target of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” he said. “The world needs to fast-track commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.”
To reach the goals set forth in the Paris accord, global greenhouse gas emissions would need to reach net-zero by 2050. However, the UN has warned the details on how they are planning to get there are vague.
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