Today’s update from the UK Met Office says the chances of temporarily going above 1.5 degrees Centigrade (C) in one of the next five years have never been higher.
For the past seven years, global temperatures have stayed at or around 1C higher than pre-industrial levels, with 2016 and 2020 being the warmest years on record. At this point, we’ve already experienced significant climate change impacts – e.g. unprecedented wildfires in America and floods in Europe last year, plus the extreme heatwaves currently hitting India and Pakistan.
Worryingly, temperatures between now and 2026 are predicted to fluctuate between 1.1C (as at present) and 1.7C higher than pre-industrial levels, with researchers believing we'll break the 2016 and 2020 temperature records.
Although, at this stage, surpassing 1.5C in global temperature is thought to be temporary, worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise at an alarming rate, and will not start to fall until we stop producing emissions and pull what we have produced out of the atmosphere.
This will take a multifaceted approach, but by far the most efficient and cost-effective way of removing CO2 from the air is to restore nature. Planting trees and restoring wetlands or other ecosystems will help capture atmospheric CO2 and lock it away in their biomass. Plus, we’ll have the additional benefits of increased biodiversity, cleaner air, cleaner water and reduced flood risk, to name a few.