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CO2 Budget Depletion

17 May 2023 | Global

Global Temperature expected to rise above 1.5°C within 5 years

Scientists expect that the global temperature will rise above the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold within the next five years.  

The World Meteorological Organization has indicated that, due to a combination of fossil fuel emissions and an impending El Niño warming event, it is now probable that the global temperature will surpass the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for the first time. It is likely that global temperatures will reach unprecedented highs within the next five years. More specifically, it is highly likely (98%) that at least one in the upcoming five years (2023-2027) will set a heat record. 

“This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5°C level specified in the Paris Agreement which refers to long-term warming over many years. However, WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5°C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas. 

The report also highlights the disproportionate warming temperatures of the Arctic. For example, over the next five extended northern hemisphere winters, the temperature anomaly in the Arctic region is expected to be more than three times greater than the global mean anomaly, relative to the 1991-2020 average. 

The +1.5°C threshold of the Paris Agreement isn’t just a number. It is a key tipping point, beyond which there will be significant increases in extreme events such as floods, droughts, wildfires, and food shortages. The Earth’s climate system has 16 critical tipping points that govern the safe space for humanity. Out of this total, nine are within the polar regions and five Arctic tipping points are expected to be crossed between +1.5°C to +2°C of warming (Armstrong McKay et al., 2022). This includes almost complete loss of Arctic summer sea ice, increased rate of permafrost degradation leading to increased GHG (i.e. methane) emissions and increased Greenland ice sheet melt leading to global sea level rise. 

The Paris limit is not broken: There is still hope. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is crucial, and we need to do a lot more. It is important that we hold countries accountable for not acting upon the Paris Agreement. We need Climate Action NOW! 

Image: WMO Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update Target years: 2022 and 2022-2026



The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.

Greenland rate of ice loss
13 million l/s
on average
13 million tonnes/s
on average
Arctic Sea Ice Extent
422,499 km²
below 1981-2010 average on 26-May-2024
163,127 mi²
below 1981-2010 average on 26-May-2024
Arctic Amplification
4 times
faster than global average
Arctic 66N+ Wildfire emissions
44.04 megatonnes CO₂e
CO₂e emissions in 2024 so far
Arctic Air Quality (PM2.5)
2.63 microgram per cubic meter
on 27-May-2024
Global mean Sea Level
since 1993