2015 is going to be the warmest year on record, confirmed the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In fact, 2011-2015 was the warmest five-year period on record, as per the report released by the organization.
As per the State of the Global Climate report, 2015 is shaping up to be the single hottest year ever registered. The planet’s temperatures rose above the symbolic milestone of 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. What’s even more concerning is that the temperatures could soar even higher due to the El Niño weather pattern. If the governments of the world do nothing about climate change quickly, global average temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius or more, reported the Guardian.
The news comes just a few days before international negotiations on climate change are set to begin in Paris, and WMO director-general Michel Jarraud is strongly hoping that the world leaders will agree upon the much-needed steps to keep the temperature rising within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degree Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times, reported Reuters. Incidentally, this was the target which was agreed upon way back in 2010 in order to prevent any drastic change, causing extreme weather formation. However, the target wasn’t strictly enforced, lamented Jarraud.
“But the more we wait for action, the more difficult it will be. You have scenarios assuming very strong decisions, very quick and sharp reduction of greenhouse gases, and you have other scenarios with business as usual, where you end up with predictions of additional warming of 5, 6 degrees, maybe even more. That will very much depend on the decisions (in Paris).”
Jarraud has time and again cautioned there is no “silver bullet” or a surefire way to stop climate change dead in its tracks. However, there are a few steps that can be taken with immediate effect to at least slow down the rate at which the climate is changing. The change begins at the individual level, urged Jarraud. People resolutely opting for public transport instead of personal vehicles and adequately insulating their homes go a long way in curbing the carbon emissions. On an industrial level, methods to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from the most obvious culprits, like power stations, transportation, cement, farming, and fertilizers, need to opt for greener technologies, he urged.
Unfortunately, the situation has become increasingly worse. The three-month average for carbon dioxide (CO2) in the northern hemisphere has reached 400 parts per million for the first time, reported National Geographic. Scientists have always warned that to avoid the worst effects of global warming, like intensified storms or super storms, rising sea levels, and bizarre, unexplained weather patterns, long-term concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere should stay below 350 parts per million.
The upcoming talks on climate change, which are already under threat from global terrorism orchestrated by the ISIS, will have over 190 world leaders trying to come up with a concrete plan to cut greenhouse gases. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Paris, the city that witnessed a brutal attack, from November 30 to December 11.
Experts are optimistic that the simplest ways to slow down climate change is to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and fortunately, there are many ways to do so. However, it is the current generation that has a choice to act. “Future generations will not,” warned Jarraud.
[Photo by Philippe Desmazes/Getty Images]