The world’s average temperature is rising faster than previously thought, headed for a gain that may be triple the goal almost set by almost 200 countries.
The findings by the World Meteorologic Organization suggest an increase of 3 degrees to 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. It’s another indication of how far off track the planet is in meeting its target to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since the dawn of the industrial revolution.
That was the ambition in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, a level that scientists identify as one where the worst impacts on the environment could be avoided. While a fluctuation of that level hardly registers during the course of a day, when applied to the climate it would mark the biggest shift in temperatures since the last ice age ended some 10,000 years ago.
“If we wanted to reach a 1.5 degree increase we would need to bend emissions and at the moment countries haven’t been following on their Paris pledges,” WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas told reporters in Madrid, where envoys from almost 200 countries were attending a two-week United Nations conference on the issue.