Social Climate Tech News

Mon 08 2024

Global Temperatures Soar to Record Highs, Sparking Climate Concerns

by bernt & torsten

According to new data, the Earth's average temperature has been 1.5°C hotter in the past year than it was before humans started using fossil fuels. From July 2023 to June 2024, the planet experienced its hottest period ever recorded. This does not mean that world leaders have entirely failed to limit global warming to 1.5°C by the century's end—a target assessed over more extended periods. However, the intense heat has exposed more people to severe weather and increased the likelihood of catastrophic environmental events.

The research data provided by Copernicus Climate Change Service, emphasized that this isn't a one-time event but part of a significant and ongoing change in the Earth's climate. Even if the extreme temperatures subside temporarily, we will continue to see new heat records unless we stop releasing greenhouse gases.

Copernicus, part of the EU’s space program, uses vast data from satellites, ships, aircraft, and weather stations to monitor climate changes. Their findings show June 2024 as the hottest June on record, with the past 12 months consistently 1.5°C more sizzling than the preindustrial average. Some other climate datasets might not show the same 12-month streak due to minor differences, but the trend is unmistakable.

Burning fossil fuels—whether in power plants or vehicles—releases carbon into the atmosphere. This carbon traps heat, leading to more extreme weather and making it harder for people and ecosystems to cope. Extreme weather events increase with every increment of warming; even at 1.5°C, we already see severe consequences.

Some ecosystems, like tropical coral reefs, are particularly at risk. According to the latest science, 1.5°C of warming could destroy 70-90% of these reefs, while an increase of 2°C could nearly wipe them out. A survey of climate scientists revealed that most expect global temperatures to rise by at least 2.5°C by 2100, with many fearing an increase of over 3°C. Although these numbers might seem small, they significantly impact human life and natural systems.

The climate crisis isn't simply about hitting the 1.5°C mark and facing disaster. Every 0.1°C increase matters because it causes significant temperature variances in different regions. Even in the best-case scenario, people should prepare for a warmer world and enhance their response plans. Adaptation doesn't mean our efforts have failed; we must be ready for the changes ahead.