The planet is approaching 1.5 degrees of global warming that only a decade ago scientists didn’t expect to see until the middle of the century. At the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), researchers worry that the focus on the Covid-19 pandemic has diverted attention from the acceleration of warming.
“We feel the need to sound the alarm that global warming continues and, in fact, is becoming more extreme, during this period when our primary concern is public health,” the service said in a statement Thursday. “The climate crisis does not take vacations and soon it will, once again, be at the top of the headlines.”
The institute says that the rapid melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice and the warming of the earth’s oceans are driving the recent temperature rise. July was the third hottest month on record, trailing only record-setting months in 2019 and 2016. “We have just passed the one degree temperature rise and believe we could reach the 1.5 degree benchmark within five years,” C3S said.
Funded by the European Union, C3S compiles date from a number of climate change sources, including the World Meteorological Organization and the United Kingdom Meteorological Institute and processes it through the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.
′′We’re getting closer to the 1.5 degree temperature-rise point that countries set in the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015 but we didn’t expect to be here for another two or three decades,” warns Juan Francisco of the supercomputing center. “This goal was set only five years ago so the present circumstances are extremely disturbing. It appears almost impossible now for the world to stay below the two-degree temperature rise goal we established for the end of the 21st century.”
There is an urgent need for another climate change conference, says C3S director Carlo Buontempo. “The recent data requires new and revolutionary action to save the planet from catastrophe,” he says. “Not only are temperatures rising faster than expected, the levels of carbon dioxide and methane are too. The situation appears to be careening out of control.”
Buontempo adds that the world must first control the Covid-19 pandemic but should then turn its “undivided attention” to controlling climate change.