Urgent Warning: World Briefly Exceeds 2-Degree Warming Limit for the First Time, Scientists Say

The global temperature briefly exceeded an important threshold that scientists have long warned could have catastrophic and irreversible impacts on the planet and its ecosystems. According to preliminary data shared by Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the global average temperature on Friday last week was more than 2 degrees Celsius hotter than levels before industrialization.

While the threshold was crossed temporarily, it is indicative of a planet getting progressively hotter, moving towards a situation where climate crisis impacts will be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse. Samantha Burgess noted that this was the first day when the global temperature was more than 2°C above 1850-1900 (or pre-industrial) levels, at 2.06°C.

The breach of 2 degrees occurred just two weeks before the start of the UN COP28 climate conference in Dubai. The conference will evaluate the progress towards the Paris Climate Agreement’s pledge to limit global warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, with an ambition to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

The increase in global temperature also coincides with extreme weather events such as wildfires, floods, and storms. This string of events has heightened concerns from scientists who are alarmed that the data on temperatures is surpassing their predictions.

It is evident that the world is not doing enough to mitigate or adapt to the impacts of climate change, as highlighted by recent reports. According to a UN report, planet-heating pollution in 2030 is projected to be 9% higher than it was in 2010, indicating that the world is way off from the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The Earth is hurtling toward a dangerous level of warming, and the urgent need to tackle greenhouse gas emissions is underscored by the breach of the 2-degree threshold. The data from Copernicus is preliminary and will require weeks to be confirmed with real-life observations. However, it serves as a stark reminder of the dire state of the planet’s climate.


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