Out of Time: Temperature records collapse around the world

Despite record heat, critics warn of a worrying lack of momentum during climate talks with little progress being made on key issues like fossil fuels and finance.

The goal of keeping long-term global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) is spiraling out of reach, climate experts say, with nations failing to set more ambitious targets despite months of heat to come. records on land and sea.

As envoys gathered in Bonn in early June to prepare for the annual climate talks in November this year, global average surface air temperatures have been more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for several days, said the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). .

Although average temperatures have temporarily crossed the 1.5C mark previously, this was the first time they have done so in the Northern Hemisphere summer that begins on June 1. Sea temperatures also broke records in April and May.

We’ve run out of time because change takes time, said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a climate scientist at Australia’s University of New South Wales.

As climate envoys from the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters prepare to meet next month, temperatures broke June records in the Chinese capital Beijing and extreme heatwaves hit the United States.

Parts of North America were about 10°C (18°F) above the seasonal average this month, and smoke from wildfires blanketed Canada and the US east coast in a dangerous haze, with carbon emissions estimated at a record 160 million tons.

In India, one of the most climate-vulnerable regions, deaths have risen due to sustained high temperatures and extreme heat has been recorded in Spain, Iran and Vietnam, raising fears that the deadly summer of recent years could become routine.

Countries agreed in Paris in 2015 to try to keep long-term average temperature increases to within 1.5°C, but there is now a 66% chance that the annual average will exceed the 1.5°C threshold C for at least a full year between now and 2027, the World Meteorological Organization forecast in May.

Sign of things to come

The high temperatures on land were matched by those over the sea with the warming intensified by an El Nino event and other factors.

Average global sea surface temperatures reached 21C (70F) in late March and remained at record highs for the time of year throughout April and May. Australia’s Meteorological Agency has warned that sea temperatures in the Pacific and Indian Oceans could be 3C (5F) warmer than normal by October.

Global warming is the main factor, said Piers Forster, professor of climate physics at the University of Leeds, but so are El Nino, the decline of Saharan dust blowing over the ocean and the use of low-content ship fuels of sulfur were also to blame.

So in all, the oceans are being hit by a quadruple hit, he said. It is a sign of things to come.

Thousands of dead fish have washed up on Texan beaches, and heat-induced algal blooms have also been blamed for killing sea lions and dolphins in California.

Warmer seas could also mean less wind and rain, creating a vicious cycle that leads to even more heat, said Annalisa Bracco, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Although this year’s high sea temperatures are caused by a perfect combination of circumstances, the ecological impact could be lasting, he said.

The ocean will have a very slow response as it builds up [heat] slowly but also keeps it for a long time.

The road to Dubai

Climate experts said the extent and frequency of extreme weather has increased and this year has also seen punishing droughts around the world, as well as a rare and deadly cyclone in Africa.

The Global Fund for Nature, however, has warned of a worrying lack of momentum at climate talks in Bonn this month, with little progress made on key issues such as fossil fuels and finance ahead of November’s COP28 climate talks. in Dubai.

He was very detached from what was happening outside the building in Bonn, I was very disappointed by it, said Li Shuo, Greenpeace’s senior climate adviser in Beijing.

We are really coming to the moment of truth, I hope the sheer reality helps us change people’s moves and politics.

US-China talks could resume next week with US climate envoy John Kerry due to visit Beijing, though few expect him to add momentum to climate talks.

This is more of a trust-building exercise, Li said. I don’t think either side will be able to push the other side to say much more than they are willing to, politics won’t allow it.

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Image Source : www.aljazeera.com

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