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Analysis and Environment

How will we actually know when we pass 1.5°C of warming?

It looks likely that the world will pass 1.5°C of warming in the 2030s, but current climate definitions would only make this failure official 10 years later, which could waste time in bringing temperatures back down

By Michael Le Page

1 December 2023

This year may see the first breach of 1.5°C warming

Guy Corbishley/Alamy

As the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, kicked off this week, the meeting’s president Sultan Al Jaber said that keeping the key 1.5°C climate target “within reach” was his only goal. But realistically, barring a catastrophic financial collapse, a massive meteor impact or all-out nuclear war, it now seems inevitable that the global average surface temperature will exceed 1.5°C above the preindustrial level sometime around 2030.

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