A new study published in the journal Earth System Science Data has found that global warming is accelerating. Average annual emissions hit an all-time high of 54 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) or its equivalent in other gases in 2022.
This means that the world is on track to warm by more than 2 degrees Celsius (°C) above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, which would have devastating consequences.
The study’s authors say that the findings close the door on capping global warming under the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious 1.5°C target. The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. The agreement also aims to increase the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
The study’s findings are based on a wide range of data, including satellite observations, ground-based measurements, and computer models. The authors found that the rate of global warming has increased significantly since the early 2000s and that this trend is likely to continue in the coming decades.
The study’s findings are a stark warning to world leaders, who will be meeting in Dubai later this year for the COP28 climate summit. The summit is an opportunity for countries to reaffirm their commitments to the Paris Agreement and to discuss new ways to reduce emissions. However, the study’s authors say that the window for action is closing rapidly.
Lead author, Piers Forster, a physics professor at the University of Leeds, warned that significant reductions in emissions are needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Climate scientists and activists expressed alarm at the study’s findings, with Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, saying that it is a wake-up call and that we need to act now to reduce emissions and avert the worst impacts of climate change.
The study’s findings come at a time when the world is already experiencing extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, and wildfires, which have become more frequent and severe in recent years. These events are causing widespread damage and displacement, and are threatening human health and safety.