‘The full impacts will take decades to play out, but once set in motion they could be hard to reverse’
The Earth could be 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the late 1800s in just nine years, according to new research which suggests the aspirational Paris Agreement target is unlikely to be achieved.
A paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters said natural climate variations in the Pacific which change over a period of decades may have provided a “temporary buffer” to the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing extreme events such as heatwaves.
But this cycle, called the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), could be about to flip or may have already done so, sending temperatures higher for the next 10 to 20 years.
Under the Paris Agreement, the world decided to
“pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels”.
However, the researchers said the combination of a natural warming phase and human carbon emissions could see temperatures reach this point by 2026.
Last year, the hottest on record for the third time in a row, was 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than the average between 1850 and 1900, according to separate research by the Met Office and Nasa. That prompted Professor Gabi Hegerl, a world-leading climatologist at Edinburgh University, to warn that it was
“getting tight for avoiding dangerous climate change”.
Read more: The Independent