Climate nears point of no return as land, sea temperatures break records, experts say

Singapore, July 1 (BNA): The goal of keeping long-term global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) is far off, climate experts said, with countries failing to set more ambitious targets despite months of rising temperatures. On land and at sea.

As envoys meet in Bonn in early June to prepare for this year’s annual climate talks in November, global average surface air temperatures have been more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for several days, the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (CCCS) reports. C3S). .

Although average temperatures had temporarily crossed the 1.5°C threshold before, this was the first time they had done so in the Northern Hemisphere summer that begins on June 1.

“We’re running out of time because change takes time,” said Sarah Perkins Kirkpatrick, a climate scientist at the Australian University of New South Wales.

As climate envoys from the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases prepare to meet next month, record-breaking June temperatures in Beijing, China, and sweltering heatwaves have battered the United States.

Parts of North America were about 10 degrees Celsius warmer than the seasonal average this month, and smoke from wildfires shrouded Canada and the east coast of the United States in a menacing haze, with carbon emissions estimated at 160 million metric tons.

In India, one of the regions most affected by the climate, a high number of deaths was reported as a result of the continuing high temperatures, and extreme temperatures were also recorded in Spain, Iran and Vietnam, raising fears that last year’s deadly summer could become routine.

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Countries agreed in Paris in 2015 to try to keep the long-term average temperature rise within 1.5°C, but there is now a 66% chance that the annual average will exceed the 1.5°C threshold for at least a full year from now. And until 2027, the world. Meteorological Organization forecast in May.

“Quadruple Strike”

The higher land temperatures matched those at sea, with higher temperatures due to El Nino and other factors.

Global mean sea surface temperatures reached 21°C in late March and remained at record levels for this time of year throughout April and May. The Australian Meteorological Agency has warned that sea temperatures in the Pacific and Indian oceans could be up to 3°C warmer than normal by October.

Global warming was the main factor, said Piers Forster, professor of climate physics at the University of Leeds, but El Niño, the decline of desert dust that blows over the ocean, and the use of low-sulfur shipping fuels were also to blame.

“So in total, the oceans take a quadruple hit,” he said. “It’s a sign of things to come.”

Thousands of dead fish have washed up on Texas beaches, and heat-induced algal blooms have been blamed for killing California sea lions and dolphins.

Warming seas could also mean less winds and precipitation, said Annalisa Bracco, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, creating a vicious cycle that leads to more heat.

She said that although the higher sea temperatures this year are caused by a “perfect combination” of conditions, the environmental impact could continue.

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“The ocean will have a very slow response because it is slowly building up (heat) but also maintaining it for a very long time.”

The road to Dubai

Climate experts say the range and frequency of extreme weather is increasing, and this year has also seen droughts around the world, as well as a rare and deadly cyclone in Africa.

However, the WWF warned of an “alarming lack of momentum” during climate talks in Bonn this month, with little progress made on key issues such as fossil fuels and financing ahead of COP28 climate talks in Dubai in November.

“It was very disconnected from what was going on outside the block in Bonn – I was very disappointed by that,” said Li Xu, Greenpeace’s senior climate advisor in Beijing.

“We’ve really come to the moment of truth… I hope the sheer reality can help us change people’s movements and change politics.”

Talks between the US and China could resume next week as US climate envoy John Kerry is due to visit Beijing, although few expect it to add momentum to climate negotiations.

“This is a trust-building process,” he told me. “I don’t think either side will be able to get the other to say much more than it is willing to do – politics will not allow it.”


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