World breaches critical 1.5C global warming threshold across entire year for the first time

8 February 2024, 08:45 | Updated: 8 February 2024, 08:57

Earth broke heat records for the eighth straight month in January
Earth broke heat records for the eighth straight month in January. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Global temperatures have pushed past the 1.5C warming threshold for an entire year for the first time.

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It is the highest 12-month global temperature average on record, with February 2023 to January 2024 running 1.52C hotter than pre-industrial levels, the EU's climate service said.

World leaders pledged to limit the long-term temperature rise to 1.5C in the 2015 Paris Agreement, in a bid to avoid the most damaging impacts of global warming.

The breach does not break the international treaty but it could potentially be impacted if urgent action is not taken.

Scientists have said warming can still be slowed if countries step up their measures.

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Andrew Marr told that Britain is not moving fast enough when it comes to the climate crisis.

"To go over [1.5C of warming] on an annual average is significant," Prof Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, said.

"It's another step in the wrong direction. But we know what we've got to do."

January 2024 also broke the 2020 record for the warmest first month of the year by 0.12C, according to Copernicus data.

It was 1.66C warmer than the late 1800s, which is the base for temperatures before the burning of fossil fuels.

Scientists have blamed both human-caused warming from the burning of fossil fuels and a natural but temporary El Nino warming of parts of the Pacific.

Climate professor tells Tom Swarbrick he supports Keir Starmer downgrading his green 'target'

It comes as Labour is expected to ditch plans to spend £28 billion a year on environmental projects.

Sir Keir Starmer is set to confirm that the pledge is being scaled back due to changes in the economic landscape.

The Labour leader said the money was "desperately needed" for the party's key mission to achieve clean power by 2030.

The Green Party has described the u-turn as a "massive backwards step for the climate, for the economy and for good quality jobs".

Co-leader Carla Denyer said: "Labour have chosen to wear their fiscal rules as a millstone around their neck.

"A different approach through tax reforms, in particular by introducing a wealth tax on the super-rich, could help pay for the green

"There is more than enough money in the economy to pay for this."

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