Global warming: The 2°C temperature rise exceeded for the first time

Global warming: The 2°C temperature rise exceeded for the first time
Credit: Belga

Global temperatures have exceeded the seasonal average for the pre-industrial era by more than 2°C for the first time ever, breaching the Paris Agreement’s upper limit, the Copernicus European observatory reports.

On 17 November, interim data revealed that the world’s temperatures were 2.06°C higher than the 1850 to 1900 average, Samantha Burgess, Deputy Head of the Climate Change (C3S) service at Copernicus, said on X (formerly Twitter).

“This is the first day that the global temperature has exceeded 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” she emphasised.

However, for the Paris Agreement threshold to be considered surpassed, this level must be reached on an average over several years.

Established  in 2015, the Paris Agreement aims to contain the rise in the global average temperature, limiting it to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to “limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

In a 2018 special report by Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), experts used as a warming definition an average “over a 30-year period” in comparison “to the reference period 1850-1900.”

The current climate is considered to have warmed by about 1.2°C compared to 1850-1900.

This first day of exceeding the 2°C threshold comes amid a series of records: the months from June to October have already been the warmest ever recorded worldwide, according to Copernicus, which predicts with “near certainty” that 2023 will surpass the annual record set in 2016.

These temperature records are resulting in devastating droughts leading to famines, wildfires, and intensified hurricanes, warn scientists.

They will serve as the backdrop for the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai (30 November – 12 December).

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