(BBC) Human fossil fuel emissions are threatening a key climate threshold twice as quickly as previously thought, a new report says.
Researchers say the 1.5C limit could be continually breached by 2029, rather than the mid 2030s.
They say record emissions of carbon dioxide over the past three years are a key factor.
They also point to a having a better understanding of how the burning of fossil fuels affects the atmosphere.
After a year of unprecedented heat, with the world’s hottest month recorded in July, temperatures for 2023 as a whole are expected to be close to 1.5C above the pre-industrial level, before the world first started heavily using coal, oil and gas around 1850.
While this may be a one off, scientists are worried that soon the world will have emitted enough greenhouse gases to keep temperatures at this level for far longer.
Scientists say that increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere raise temperatures because they trap in the earth’s radiation, creating a greenhouse effect.
The 1.5C figure is a key component of the promises made by political leaders when they signed the Paris climate agreement in 2015.
They undertook to keep the rise in global temperatures “well below” 2C and make their best efforts to keep that increase under 1.5C this century.
The 1.5C figure is seen as particularly important for developing states and small island nations, who fear that going beyond this level of warming would see the oceans rise to swallow their homes.
To work out how long it will take the world to reach this key figure, scientists calculated a “budget” of how much carbon can still be emitted before this important threshold is breached.
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