Keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius is still an attainable goal, the International Energy Agency said in a recent report.
While the agency says that the path to reaching that metric was shrinking, it believes that limiting warming below the benchmark is possible with an accelerated move to clean energy.
August 2023 surpassed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, analysis by the nonprofit Berkeley Earth found. Last month was the hottest August since record-keeping began in 1850. “Isolated anomalies above 1.5 °C are a sign that the Earth is getting close to the limit,” the organization reported. On our current trajectory, it is likely that long-term temperature averages will rise above 1.5 degrees throughout the 2030s, unless major reductions in emissions are made soon.• 1 The 2015 Paris Agreement set 1.5 degrees as the preferred upper limit of warming. However, some climate models predict that on average, this year is on track to surpass the limit.• 2
Berkeley Earth, August 2023 Temperature Update
The IEA projections come as some nations struggle to agree on how to tackle net zero targets. In the U.K., Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a U-turn on some of his government’s climate commitments: Among the roll-backs is reducing the phase-out of fossil fuel-powered boilers and pushing back a ban on the sale of new gas and diesel vehicles to 2035.• 3 On the opposite end of the spectrum is France, which committed this week to reducing its emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. France will shutter its two remaining coal plants, and uses more nuclear power than any other country.• 4
More money needs to be allocated to net zero projects if climate goals are to be met. Earlier this month, consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie issued a report estimating that $2.7 trillion per year will be needed if the world is to hit net zero by 2050 and keep warming below 1.5 C. Current policies put the world on track for 2.5 C in warming by 2050, according to the United Nations.• 5