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For the first time on record, average global temperatures have been more than 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels for 12 consecutive months, according to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). This spike in temperatures is partly due to the climate-warming El Nino phenomenon, but the main culprit for the bulk of the warming is greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. This raises concerns as the Paris Agreement aims to limit the average global temperature increase to well below 2 C and to strive for a 1.5 C limit. Exceeding this limit threatens serious harm to planetary systems, human populations, and the environment.
"It is a significant milestone," said Matt Patterson, a postdoctoral researcher in climate physics at the University of Oxford.
Climate change has already worsened extreme weather events, as shown by the weather attribution scientists. The 2023 wildfire season in Canada, the drought in the Horn of Africa, flooding in Libya, and heat waves in Europe, North America, and China all have been exacerbated by human-made climate change. This latest C3S report highlights the urgency in taking action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and prevent further warming beyond the 1.5-degree limit.
Deadly heat waves in Europe, North America and China would have been practically impossible without human-made climate change.