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Researchers warn of 'fifty-fifty chance' of crossing 1.5C warming limit
New analysis shows that there's a signifiant likelihood of breaching an acknowledged global warming threshold

Researchers from the UK Met Office have issued a report which warns there is a now a fifty-fifty chance that temperatures across the world will rise by 1.5C during the next five years.

The update from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), carried out by the Met Office, states that it's almost certain that at some point between 2022 and 2026 we'll see a record warmest year.

In 2015 the average global temperature rose by 1C compared to pre-industrial levels. That same year, global leaders gathered in Paris where they made a commitment to keep any rise in temperatures to well below 2C and to attempt to keep them under 1.5C.

At COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to keeping global temperature rises to below 1.5C but the Met Office's report says the chances of breaching this limit have never been higher. It suggests that in the years 2022 to 2026, average global temperatures will be between 1.1C and 1.7C higher than pre-industrial levels.

The researchers say that if average temperatures for one particular year do increase by more than 1.5C, this doesn't mean a sustained period of temperatures at that level. The chances are that temperatures will drop back below the 1.5C rise but there's no room for complacency.

Over the last seven years, the average temperature around the world has stayed close to the 1C rise, with 2016 and 2020 both coming out as the joint hottest years on record. The researchers believe that one of the coming years is likely to be hotter still.

Dr Leon Hermanson, lead author of the Met Office report, explains that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are creeping up and countries across the world need to do everything they can to cut the use of fossil fuels.

You can read the WMO's full report here.

Fiona Kyle