For the first time, temperatures exceeded the 1.5 degree limit set by the Paris climate agreement for an entire year. What this means for the future.

A man at the demonstration carries a globe with a miniature Eiffel Tower and the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Protest in vain: last year, global temperatures were 1.52 degrees above normal Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa

“2024 began with a record month: not only was it the warmest January on record, but it was also the first time we experienced a 12-month span in which temperatures were 1.5 degrees higher than pre-industrial levels,” he warned. Samantha to Burgess. , deputy director of Copernicus, the European Union's Earth observation service, on Thursday.

The last twelve months have been too hot: according to Copernicus, global temperatures were on average 1.52 degrees above what would have been normal before climate-damaging industrialization.

1.5 degrees are a fearsome mark. Beyond this, it is increasingly likely that the climate crisis will become uncontrollable. In the 2015 Paris climate agreement, governments promised to “make efforts” to stop global warming there. Has that already failed?

How to take it: If the question is whether there will ever be another slightly cooler month, then probably not. The weather is chaotic, it fluctuates. When it comes to climate, we're talking about long-term averages: not just over twelve months, but often over three decades.

Fossil records are fueling global warming

Furthermore, in recent months, in addition to the man-made climate crisis, there has also been a natural climate phenomenon that has significantly increased temperatures: El Niño. The circulation of wind and water in the Pacific is changing, with global consequences. According to Copernicus, the phenomenon is slowly declining. The permanent entry into the world of 1.5 degrees is probably still pending.

But humanity is unlikely to turn its back on him. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a major special report on the 1.5 degree goal. Consequently, CO2 emissions worldwide would have to be reduced by almost half by 2030 to reach virtually zero by 2050.

The opposite has happened: globally, greenhouse gas emissions have actually increased; By 2023, according to the research initiative Global Carbon Project, the burning of fossil fuels generated more emissions than ever before. As long as fossil records hold up, so will temperature records.