UN report: Global warming closing in on dangerous milestone

The world is getting closer to passing a temperature limit set by global leaders five years ago and may exceed it in the next decade or so, according to a new United Nations report.

In the next five years, the world has nearly a 25 percent chance of experiencing a year that is hot enough to put the global temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, according to a new science update released on Wednesday by the UN, World Meteorological Organization, and other global science groups.

That 1.5 degrees Celsius is the more stringent of two limits set in 2015 by world leaders in the Paris climate change agreement. A 2018 UN science report said a world hotter than that still survives, but chances of dangerous problems increase tremendously.

The Earth’s warming has already “increased the odds of extreme events that are unprecedented in our historical experience”, Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said.

For example, historical global warming has increased the odds of record-setting hot extremes at more than 80 percent of the globe, and has “doubled or even tripled the odds over the region of California and the western US that has experienced record-setting heat in recent weeks”, Diffenbaugh added.

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