Global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organisation.
Fuelled by heat-trapping greenhouse gases and a naturally occurring El Niño event, there is a 66 per cent likelihood that the annual average near-surface global temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year, according to a new update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
There is also a 98 per cent likelihood that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.
“This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5°C level specified in the Paris Agreement which refers to long-term warming over many years. However, WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5°C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency,” Prof. Petteri Taalas WMO Secretary-General, said.
“A warming El Niño is expected to develop in the coming months and this will combine with human-induced climate change to push global temperatures into uncharted territory,” he said. “This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. We need to be prepared.”
There is only a 32 per cent chance that the five-year mean will exceed the 1.5°C threshold, according to the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update produced by the United Kingdom’s Met Office, the WMO lead centre for such predictions.
The chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5°C has risen steadily since 2015, when it was close to zero. For the years between 2017 and 2021, there was a 10 per cent chance of exceedance.
“Global mean temperatures are predicted to continue increasing, moving us away further and further away from the climate we are used to,” said Dr Leon Hermanson, a Met Office expert scientist who led the report.
Rajeev Suri, the CEO of Inmarsat, responded to the report, saying: “We are past the point of allowing further bad news on climate change to paralyse us into inaction. While we still have time to slash emissions, it is running out fast. It is now non-negotiable that governments and industry leaders assess their decarbonisation strategies. We must double down on investments to solutions that not only decarbonise but future-proof entire industries.
“Recent modelling from Globant and Inmarsat demonstrates the magnitude of the impact satellite technologies can have on reducing CO2 emissions. So much so, that they could fast-forward the transition to Net Zero. The space industry can make a huge contribution, by using satellite technologies to assist other industries.
“According to the data, satellite technologies are already saving 2.5 per cent of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, full adoption of existing and developing solutions could cut 18 per cent of total GHG emissions. This would make it possible to reach Net Zero by as early as 2040 – a full ten years ahead of schedule.
“Given this analysis, it is disappointing that the role of space technologies in addressing climate change is not yet a core component of government and industries’ sustainability strategies. We know these are bold claims, but the modelling shows that the barriers are not technological. We have the required technology available today.
“The challenge we face is a lack of economic investment, and a lack of integration of space and satellite technologies into global Net Zero planning.”