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The year we broke our global warming promise

The internationally ratified 1.5C maximum temperature rise above pre-industrial levels has been breached over a 12-month period for the first time since the Paris Agreement. 

body of water during sunset

Figures released today, Thursday 8th February, showed that over the past year the world has experienced 1.52C of warming, according to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. This is significantly higher than the previous two record annual temperature increases, and shows that global warming has exceeded pre-pandemic level. 

Scientist are now calling on government across the globe to take faster and more decisive action to curb carbon and other greenhouse emissions, although studies show that rather than reducing our output in these areas, the level of many harmful gases being released into the atmosphere, including key ‘warming factors’ carbon dioxide and methane, is actually continuing to climb.

While the new data relates to warming on land, oceans also saw their hottest year on record, culminating in a record temperature of  21.02C on 23rd August 2023. However, this has already been surpassed, with the planet’s seas hitting an average of 21.05C on 3rd February.  

The El Niño weather system is thought to have helped push readings far above what we have perviously seen, meaning that the second half of last year saw temperatures pass 1.5C on an almost daily basis. Meteorologists expect these conditions to continue for another few month before receding, at which point it’s likely we will see a drop in warming.

The announcement comes as the Labour Party revealed was planning on abandoning it promised policy of a £28billion annual green investment plan should it win the next general election. Meanwhile, the Conservative leadership has been widely criticised for significantly scaling back its own environmental commitments, 

More on global warming: 

Scientists now understand why the Arctic is heating so quickly

Predicting the unpredictable: modelling extreme weather in a changing climate

Is the Science Based Targets Initiative ‘greenwishing’?

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