Global temperatures ‘likely to exceed 2°C this century’

The planet is very likely to warm by more than 2°C by the end of the century. That’s according to new research from the University of Washington (UW), which suggests […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The planet is very likely to warm by more than 2°C by the end of the century.

That’s according to new research from the University of Washington (UW), which suggests there is a 90% chance global temperatures will increase by somewhere between 2.0°C and 4.9°C.

The study suggests there is only a 5% chance that Earth will warm 2°C or less before 2100, with a mere 1% likelihood warming could remain at or fall below the 1.5°C limit aimed for in the Paris Agreement.

UW Researchers said they initially expected the world’s growing population to have a large effect on global warming projections – it is expected to reach 11 billion people by 2100.

However, because most of the population increase will be in Africa, which uses relatively little fossil fuels, they say this will not have a very significant impact.

The report adds the most important factor will actually be carbon intensity, the amount of carbon emissions produced for each dollar of economic activity.

It suggest although this value has dropped in recent decades as countries boost efficiency and implement standards to reduce emissions, change is not happening fast enough.

Lead Author Adrian Raftery, a UW Professor of Statistics and Sociology, said: “Our analysis shows that the goal of 2°C is very much a best-case scenario. It is achievable but only with major, sustained effort on all fronts over the next 80 years.

“Overall, the goals expressed in the Paris Agreement are ambitious but realistic. The bad news is they are unlikely to be enough to achieve the target of keeping warming at or below 1.5°C.”

Last year the UK was 0.5°C warmer than average temperatures.