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Renewable Vibes > News > Enviroment > For the first time ever, the Earth has exceeded the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold for a duration of 12 consecutive months.

For the first time ever, the Earth has exceeded the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold for a duration of 12 consecutive months.

Scientists have announced that the Earth’s temperature has exceeded preindustrial levels by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past 12 months. This milestone marks a critical barrier, as human civilizations have never experienced temperatures this high. The data, provided by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, shows that the average temperature over the past year was 1.52 degrees Celsius (2.74 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the period between 1850 and 1900.

The scorching temperatures of the past year can be attributed to a combination of the warm El Niño cycle and human-caused warming, leading to heatwaves and extreme weather events worldwide. Climate scientist Andrew Dessler explains that the current El Niño maximum is occurring on top of a continuously warming climate due to climate change, resulting in the exceptionally high global temperatures observed.

The 1.5 degrees Celsius goal originated from the 2016 Paris climate agreement, in which nearly 200 nations agreed to prevent global average temperatures from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Additionally, efforts were to be made to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Small-island states, at risk of disappearing under rising sea levels, advocated for the more ambitious target. Scientists have shown that limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius could safeguard coral reefs, preserve Arctic sea ice, and mitigate the impact of deadly heatwaves.

Although carbon emissions continue to rise, momentum has grown around the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal. Activists and environmentalists have emphasized the need for drastic emissions reductions by 2030 to meet this target. While there is some disagreement about what exactly constitutes breaching the threshold, scientists and policymakers agree that it must be based on a multiyear average, rather than a single 12-month period. They estimate that without significant emissions reductions, this breach will likely occur in the 2030s, although individual years or 12-month periods may surpass the threshold before then.

Many scientists believe that surpassing the 1.5 degrees Celsius target is inevitable. Transitioning away from fossil fuels at a rapid pace is challenging due to the world’s heavy reliance on them. Complex models have been used to predict the speed at which the world can shift to clean energy, and only a few of these models indicate achieving the 1.5 degrees Celsius target without substantial overshooting or relying on speculative technologies that do not currently exist.

The question of whether passing the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold will lead to catastrophic tipping points remains uncertain. Scientists are unable to pinpoint when certain tipping points, such as the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet or the release of greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost, will occur. However, it is clear that for every tenth of a degree of warming, the likelihood of reaching tipping points increases. Each incremental rise in temperature strains the infrastructure and systems that society has built, including electric grids, homes, and livelihoods. The ultimate focus should not solely be on the final temperature of the planet but on countries’ ability to achieve zero carbon emissions and halt future warming.

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