Science 3 min read

Earth to Pass Dangerous Global Warming Limit by 2024

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TheDigitalArtist /

The World Meteorological Organization warns the public that by 2024, our planet may exceed the global warming limit set by the UNFCCC.

Back in 2015, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to combat climate change through the Paris Agreement. The accord aims to keep Earth’s global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But according to WMO, climate anomalies like El Niño might aid the first overshoot beyond the 1.5℃ temperature, although it would only be temporary. This new prediction now cast doubt on our capability to stabilize our planet’s climate at 1.5℃.

WMO experts discovered that despite the slight decline in gas emissions this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has continued to increase.

“This has been an unprecedented year for people and the planet. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives worldwide. At the same time, the heating of our planet and climate disruption has continued apace,” António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, was quoted as saying.

Here are the other findings, contributed by researchers from six leading science agencies, from the report.

Slow CO₂ Emissions and Rise in Greenhouse Gases

The report noted that in the past decade, the three leading greenhouse gasescarbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – have all increased. Measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii and Cape Grim Station in Tasmania showed that the concentration levels of greenhouse gases continued to grow in 2019 and 2020.

On the other hand, CO₂ emission in the past decade has slowed to around 1% per year from 3% during the 2000s. Scientists are expecting a significant decline this year due to the economic slowdown brought by the pandemic.

During the peak of global lockdowns in April, the CO₂ fossil fuel emissions have declined by 17%. But, the decline was immediately reduced to 5% by June.

WMO also reported that the temperature from 2016 to 2020 would be one of the warmest of any equivalent period on record. That’s 0.24℃ warmer than the last five-year period.

At the moment, the current five-year period is on its way to setting a new temperature record across most of the planet. That includes Australia, southern Africa, parts of Europe, the Middle East, northern Asia, areas of South America, and parts of the United States.

Exceeding the 1.5℃ Global Warming Limit

WMO predicts that in the next five years, the average temperature will be above the 1981-2010 average. Arctic warming is also expected to surpass the global average.

In five years, researchers believe that there’s a one-in-four chance that Earth will exceed the 1.5℃ global warming limit. While the probability is small, the scientists emphasized that it’s significant and growing.

The report suggests that a major climate event, like El Niño, in the next five years is all it takes for our planet to exceed the Paris Agreement’s global warming limit. However, WMO emphasized that if emission reductions are large and sustained, there’s still a chance for us to meet the Paris goal and prevent further damage to our planet.

You can read WMO’s report here.

Read More: Emissions Decline During Lockdown Won’t Slow Climate Change

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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