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Earth Could Hit Critical Climate Threshold in Next Five Years


A fire in the Yakutia region of Siberia in early June seen from the air. A June heat wave saw temperatures in Verkhoyansk, a town in Yakutia, hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit. (Yevgeny Sofroneyev \ TASS via Getty Images)

In December 2015, the Paris Agreement on climate change set 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) of warming above pre-industrial levels as a key target for limiting the negative consequences of human-caused climate change. Now, a new report suggests annual global temperatures could breach that threshold for the first time within the next five years, report Nadine Achoui-Lesage and Frank Jordans for the Associated Press.

There is roughly a 20 percent chance that one of the next five years will see Earth's yearly average rise to at least 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than pre-industrial levels, according to the report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The odds of striking this grim milestone of climate change in the next five years will "increase with time," the report specifies, adding that there is a 70 percent chance that one or more months in the next five years will crest 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

To be clear, hitting or even exceeding this threshold for a month or a single year is not the same thing as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming becoming the planet's new normal, but Maxx Dilley, director of climate services at the WMO, tells the AP that, "it shows how close we're getting to what the Paris Agreement is trying to prevent."


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