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World’s climate about to enter ‘uncharted territory’ as it passes 1C of warming

 

The world has passed the halfway mark to the 2C target, the agreed safe limit to avoid catastrophic global warming, say scientists. Photograph: Thibault Camus/Pool/Reuters

The world has passed the halfway mark to the 2C target, the agreed safe limit to avoid catastrophic global warming, say scientists. Photograph: Thibault Camus/Pool/Reuters

Climate change is set to pass the milestone of 1C of warming since pre-industrial times by the end of 2015, representing “uncharted territory” according to scientists at the UK’s Met Office.

2015 is also set to be the hottest on record, as the temperatures are so far beating past records “by a country mile”, they said. The World Meteorological Organization further announced on Monday that 2016 would be the first year in which the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is over 400ppm on average, due to the continued burning of fossil fuels.

The trio of landmarks comes just three weeks ahead of a crunch UN summit in Paris where world leaders including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping and David Cameron meet in Paris in a bid to reach a new deal on cutting emissions.

The Met Office’s data from January to September 2015 already shows global average temperatures have risen by 1C for the first time compared to pre-industrial times. The rise is due to the “unequivocal” influence of increasing carbon emissions combined with the El Niño climate phenomenoncurrently under way. The Met Office expects the full-year temperature for 2015 to remain above 1C. It was below 0.9C in 2014, marking a sharp rise in climate terms.

“This is the first time we’re set to reach the 1C marker and it’s clear that it is human influence driving our modern climate into uncharted territory,” said Stephen Belcher, director of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, said. “We have passed the halfway mark to the 2C target.”

The announcement of symbolic milestones in the run up to the Paris summit will increase pressure on negotiators to deliver a strong deal to avert the catastrophic global warming expected beyond 2C of warming.

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