THIS time next year, you may be living in the same house, driving the same car and doing the same job. But in one fundamental way, life on Earth could have shifted irrevocably. Spiking worldwide temperatures, boosted by a transition to an El Niño climate pattern, could make 2024 the year that global warming exceeds 1.5°C for the first time. It may not sound like much, but scientists warn it will be a totemic moment for the planet.
Undoubtedly, breaching 1.5°C is a sign of political failure. Just eight years ago, almost every nation agreed to a binding treaty promising to hold the global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Blowing past that threshold so soon will bring huge political fallout and unleash reactionary forces that could turbocharge – or cripple – the climate movement. “All hell will break loose,” says Jochem Marotzke at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany. “That is something I’m very sure of.”
But beyond this discontent, there are many other impacts of crossing this threshold. It will have catastrophic consequences for people living in the hardest-hit parts of the world and bring even wilder, more unpredictable and extreme weather for all of us.
You have to pay to read the rest of it, and I am certainly not going to waste money on the unscientific tripe they publish.
The 1.5C threshold never was a scientific calculation in the first place; the 2.0C target it replaced was far too distant to carry any political clout. And, of course, the 1.5C is the comparison with the pre-industrial temperatures of the Little Ice Age, which should mean little to ordinary people. The fact that we have already supposedly got to about 1.2C above that baseline without the world becoming “hellish”, as they claim, should hardly be a cause for panic over another few hundredths of a degree warming, which in any event would be impossible to measure outside of the world of climate scientists with a political agenda.
Global temperatures peaked during the long El Nino in 2015/16, but were not significantly higher than in 1998, according to the satellite data:
If they want global temperature targets, they should be set against the current ones that people have grown up with and are used to.
But a headline that reads “The uncomfortable reality of life on Earth after we breach 0.1°C” does not have quite the same ring to it!