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U.N. Warns Global Heating Is Poised to Set Records and May Exceed 1.5°C Within Five Years

HeadlineMay 18, 2023

The United Nations is warning the next five years are likely to be the warmest on record, with far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. The U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday that heat-trapping greenhouse gases and a naturally occurring El Niño event will combine to make it 98% certain that at least one of the next five years will top 2016 as the hottest year on record. And the agency said there's a two-in-three chance that average global surface temperatures will reach 1.5°C above preindustrial levels for at least one of the next five years. That exceeds the maximum temperature rise set by the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. This is Petteri Taalas, head of the World Meteorological Organization.

Petteri Taalas: “There’s no return back to the good old days, because we already have such a high concentration of carbon dioxide, and also, of course, we have also increased methane concentration in the atmosphere. And the best that we can do is to phase out this negative trend.”

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