According to a recent report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Earth is on track to surpass the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming over pre-industrial levels by 2027. This marks the first time in human history that the planet’s average temperature is more likely than not to cross this crucial climate threshold within the next five years.
The report indicates a 66 percent chance of reaching this milestone and a 98 percent chance of the upcoming five-year period being the hottest on record. The significance of the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold is underscored by the Paris Agreement of 2015, in which nations committed to limiting long-term warming to that level. Exceeding this threshold carries severe consequences such as extreme storms, coral reef degradation, ice
melting, flooding, heatwaves, and drought. While the report does not imply a permanent breach of the Paris Agreement’s target, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas warns that temporary surpassing of the 1.5-degree threshold will occur with increasing frequency.
Unfortunately, countries have fallen short in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, thereby propelling climate change and putting the world on track for approximately 3 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century. The past eight years have consecutively been the hottest on record globally. Initially, the likelihood of temporarily crossing the 1.5-degree
threshold was negligible, but it has steadily increased. The recent conclusion of the La Niña weather pattern, which had a cooling effect, coupled with an impending warming El Niño event, suggests that the planet will experience even higher temperatures.
The year 2024, influenced by El Niño conditions, may become the warmest year recorded.
Climate researchers express concerns about the implications of these projections for global health. Rising temperatures contribute to various health issues, including heat strokes, food insecurity, and water scarcity. Urgent and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are necessary to mitigate the impacts of global warming. While the opportunity to secure alivable and sustainable future is narrowing, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report emphasizes that it is not too late to act. Immediate and comprehensive climate action is imperative to address this pressing challenge.