Climate change may claim 14.5 mn lives by 2050: WEF
Climate change may claim 14.5 mn lives by 2050: WEFIANS

The European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service has recently made a startling revelation. Global temperatures have surpassed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for 12 consecutive months. This period, from July 2023 to June 2024, has seen the highest recorded global average temperature. The temperature was a staggering 0.76 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average and 1.64 degrees Celsius above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average.

June 2024, in particular, has been identified as the warmest June ever recorded, with an average surface air temperature of 16.66 degrees Celsius. This marks the 13th consecutive month where each respective month has been the warmest on record.

Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, has expressed grave concern over these findings. He stated, This is more than a statistical oddity, and it highlights a large and continuing shift in our climate.

Buontempo further warned that even if this streak of extreme temperatures ends, new records are likely to be broken as the climate continues to warm. He emphasized the urgent need to halt the addition of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and oceans.

Climate Change
Climate ChangeIANS

These findings are particularly alarming in light of the Paris Agreement, which was released in 2015. The agreement set temperature targets to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level, with efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. The targets set in the Paris Agreement are meant to be the average temperature of the planet over a 20- or 30-year period. The current situation, with 12 consecutive months exceeding the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit, underscores the urgency of the climate crisis.

The impacts of this global temperature increase are already being felt around the world. Reports have emerged of more than 1,000 people dying due to heat-related illnesses during the Haj pilgrimage last month.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that a 1.5C of warming could result in the death of 70-90 per cent of tropical coral reefs, while a 2C warming could wipe them out entirely. The oceans, which cover 70 per cent of the Earth's surface and absorb 90 per cent of the extra heat associated with rising climate-warming emissions, are also at risk.

Extreme weather events, such as relentless rain causing extensive flooding in countries like Kenya, China, Brazil, Afghanistan, Russia, and France, have been linked to the warming planet. Wildfires have ravaged lands in Greece and Canada, and Hurricane Beryl became the earliest category five Atlantic hurricane on record as it swept across several Caribbean islands.

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However, there is a glimmer of hope. The world is about to transition into a La Nina phase, which is expected to have a cooling effect. As one expert noted, We can expect the global (air) temperature to taper down in the next few months. But this temporary decrease does not negate the long-term warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

The findings from the Copernicus Climate Change Service are a stark reminder of the urgent need to address climate change. The world has already surpassed the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit set by the Paris Agreement for 12 consecutive months, and unless drastic measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this trend is likely to continue. The impacts of this global temperature increase are already being felt, with extreme weather events becoming more frequent and severe. It is crucial that the world takes collective action to mitigate the effects of climate change and work towards a sustainable future.