Comment on WMO/Met Office 1.5 °C report

Published:27 May 2021

Commenting on a report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) suggesting there is a 40% chance of annual average global temperatures temporarily reaching 1.5°C in at least one of the next five years, Richard Black, Senior Associate at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: “As the WMO notes, this report makes an unarguable case that governments and businesses should urgently reduce emissions in the next few years, to keep the door to the Paris Agreement 1.5°C target open.

“Having individual years more than 1.5°C above the historical average wouldn’t mean the Paris target is breached, but this is an unmistakeable warning sign that the door will close if governments make the wrong choices.

“For governments such as the UK’s, that means getting on with policymaking in areas such as replacing gas boilers – there’s no way to reach either the national 2030 target or net zero without action on all sources of emissions, and there’s no way to halt climate change and minimise its escalating cost without reaching net zero.

“The report also makes clear that impacts of climate change on the world’s poorest countries are escalating, making an urgent case that developed nations should deliver on their commitments for financial support – which is certain to be high on the agenda for next month’s G7 summit.”

Gail Whiteman, Arctic Basecamp founder and Professor of Sustainability at the University of Exeter’s Business School, said: “The Arctic is warming nearly three times faster than the globe as a whole, which is exacerbating sea-level rise, and worsening global heating as well as extreme weather events, from wildfires in California, Australia and Siberia to extreme snowfalls in North America, Europe and Japan.

“Arctic warming is already creating environmental, health and economic risks for citizens, companies and countries around the world.”

Roxy Mathew Koll, a Climate Scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, said:“More than 93% of the additional heat from global warming is absorbed by the oceans. Among the oceans, some regions are warming quite rapidly. The long-term surface warming recorded in the western Indian Ocean region, for example, is in the range of 1.2-1.4 C.

"This has a huge impact on the monsoon and severe weather events. Warmer ocean conditions are also resulting in the rapid intensification of cyclones. The recent cyclone Tauktae intensified from a weak cyclone to an extremely severe cyclone in a short time.”


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