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'Sounding the alarm': World likely to temporarily pass 1.5C limit by 2028, UN weather agency warns

The sun rises amid high temperatures in Mexico City.
The sun rises amid high temperatures in Mexico City. Copyright AP Photo/Marco Ugarte
Copyright AP Photo/Marco Ugarte
By Rosie Frost with AP
Published on Updated
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It's also likely that at least one of the next five years will set a new temperature record, the World Meteorological Organization has said.


There is an 80 per cent chance that average global temperatures will surpass the 1.5C target laid out in the landmark Paris climate accord for at least one of the next five years, according to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predictions.

It is also likely - an 86 per cent chance - that at least one of these years will set a new temperature record, beating 2023 which is currently the warmest year.

A new report from the UN weather agency released on Wednesday says that the global mean near-surface temperature for each year from 2024 to 2028 is expected to range between 1.1C and 1.9C hotter than at the start of the industrial era.

It also estimated that there’s nearly a one-in-two chance 47 per cent that the average global temperatures over that entire five-year span could top 1.5C.

This is an increase from just under a one-in-three chance projected for the 2023 to 2027 span. In 2015, such a chance was close to zero and has been rising ever since.

“Behind these statistics lies the bleak reality that we are way off track to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement,” said WMO Deputy Secretary-General Ko Barrett.

“We must urgently do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions, or we will pay an increasingly heavy price in terms of trillions of dollars in economic costs, millions of lives affected by more extreme weather and extensive damage to the environment and biodiversity.”

Barret emphasised that, while the WMO is "sounding the alarm", temporarily surpassing 1.5C does not mean the goal is permanently lost because it refers to long-term warming over decades.

'Playing Russian roulette with our planet'

The report was cited in a sweeping speech about the threat of climate change by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to mark World Environment Day.

"We are playing Russian roulette with our planet,” he said.

“We need an exit ramp off the highway to climate hell. And the good news is that we have control of the wheel. The battle to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees will be won or lost in the 2020s – under the watch of leaders today.”

The UN secretary general also pulled from data published today by EU climate monitoring service Copernicus which shows that each of the past 12 months has set a new global temperature record for the time of year.

He called on advanced economies in the Group of 20 countries (G20) - who are holding a summit in Brazil next month - to take the lead.

“We cannot accept a future where the rich are protected in air-conditioned bubbles, while the rest of humanity is lashed by lethal weather in unliveable lands,” Guterres said.

He added that global carbon dioxide emissions must fall 9 per cent each year to 2030 for the 1.5C target to be kept alive.

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