UN warns about potential climate threshold breach and calls for swift action

BRUSSELS/GENEVA/BERLIN, June 5 (Xinhua) — The weather and climate agency of the United Nations (UN) on Wednesday called for immediate actions to address climate change, pointing to the findings of a report which predict a high likelihood of global temperatures surpassing a critical warming threshold.

According to the Global Annual-Decadal Update of the World Meteorological Organization, there is a 80 percent chance the global temperature will rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius in one or more of the five years to come.

According to the WMO, this probability has been steadily increasing since 2015, when it was almost zero.

The latest prediction is another warning that we are moving closer to the Paris Agreement’s lower warming goal. This agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels (1850-1900), with efforts being made to limit it to just 1.5 degrees Celsius before the end of the century.

According to the report, the global mean near-surface temperatures for each year from 2024 to 2028 are predicted to be between 1,1 and 1.9 degrees Celsius above the baseline pre-industrial.

The report said that it is likely that by 2028, at least one year will break the previous temperature records, which were set in 2023.

According to the European Union Copernicus Climate Change Service C3S, the 12-month period between June 2023 and May 2024 was confirmed as being the warmest ever recorded, with temperatures 1,63 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial mean. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) also confirmed that May was the warmest month on record worldwide, marking the 12th consecutive record-high month for global average temperatures.

Carlo Buontempo, Director of C3S, said in a press release that it was “shocking but not surprising” that the streak had reached 12 months. He said that, although the streak of record-breaking month will end eventually, climate change is still continuing and there are no signs to suggest it’s going to reverse.

In a video message marking World Environment Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on the “climate hell” in his address to mark World Environment Day.

He said that it was “climate crunch time” and stressed the need for unprecedented action. “The opportunity is also unprecedented – to not only deliver on climate but on economic prosperity, and sustainable development.”

Ko Barrett, Deputy Secretary General of WMO, said: “We are far off the track in meeting the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.” We must do more urgently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or we will be faced with increasing economic costs, as well as millions of people affected by extreme weather and damage to biodiversity and the environment.

Barrett admitted that the global temperature is likely to temporarily exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius on an increasing basis. She stressed, however, that temporary breaches don’t mean the 1.5 degree goal is permanently lost. It refers to a long-term, decade-long warming.

DIVASTATING Climate Effects

Already, even at the current global warming level, the world is experiencing devastating climate effects. There are more intense and frequent heatwaves and extreme rainfall events, as well as a reduction in sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets.

Germany is currently dealing with severe flooding, which has led to the death of five people, and several other unaccounted-for, after exceptionally heavy rains since last Friday.

Cypriots have been experiencing scorching temperatures that forced outdoor workers to stop work on Wednesday. The meteorological department of Cyprus issued an orange alert for extreme heat. Maximum temperatures are expected to reach 44 degrees Celsius in the inland areas and 34 degrees Celsius higher up on mountains.

Philenews, a local news site, quoted Philippos Tymvios as saying, “It is not normal for this time of the year.” Tymvios said that these weather events may be related to climate change and extreme weather patterns around the world.

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