The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned that the world is ‘already well on the way’ to a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees celsius, ahead of a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in South Korea to finalise a report on the likely impacts of that 1.5°C rise.
The 1.5°C target limit to warming was set by the Paris Agreement on climate change back in 2015, where signatory nations agreed to keep warming to ‘well below’ 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
It appears that urgent action, such as reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050, will need to be taken at a far greater pace than is currently the case, with the WMO warning that global temperatures are already nearing the target limit.
Speaking before the conference, WMO Deputy Secretary General Elena Manaenkova said: "Global mean temperatures in 2017 were about 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. Unfortunately we are already well on the way to the 1.5°C limit and the sustained warming trend shows no sign of relenting. The past two decades included 18 of the warmest years since records began in 1850. Long-term climate change indicators highlight the need for urgent climate action."
The IPCC report, which is set to be published on Monday 8 October following approval, is expected to recommend urgent changes, including accelerating the uptake of clean energy.
IPCC Chairman Hoesung Lee responded to concerns that governments would attempt to dilute the contents of the report by telling delegates that the report was being compiled on the initiative of national governments. He said: "Together we will produce a strong, robust and clear summary for policymakers that responds to the invitation of governments three years ago while upholding the scientific integrity of the IPCC.”
The UK has been no stranger to the rising temperatures seen around the world, with the Met Office recently revealing that 2017 was the UK’s fifth warmest year on record, while nine of the 10 hottest years in the country have occurred since 2002.
Commenting on the news, former Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Natalie Bennet, said: "This is an important warning about the need for urgent action to transform our societies. But it is also an opportunity that we need to focus on to offer people hope of a better future.
"We have been trashing this planet while creating miserable, unequal, insecure societies. If we make the dramatic changes we need to tackle climate change – from widespread community-owned renewable energy to warm affordable homes to vastly improved public transport provision – we can also address our economic and social crises."