Credits By: Prevention Web
The world has just experienced a foretaste of a planet 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than preindustrial times. July of this year has been recorded as the hottest July, with temperatures soaring between 1.5 and 1.6 degrees Celsius above the pre-fossil fuel era average, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather expressed astonishment at the extreme deviation from previous records, with July surpassing the previous record by a staggering 0.35 degrees Celsius. Unlike earlier instances of briefly reaching the 1.5-degree mark during winter, this was the first time that such high temperatures persisted during the summer, affecting a large portion of the global population.
However, this doesn’t mean the world has already missed its climate goal of preventing a temperature rise above 1.5 degrees. The plan requires sustained temperatures above that threshold for multiple years. Scientists predict that the 1.5-degree threshold could be breached around 2030 without significant emissions reductions.
The scorching temperatures in July have offered a glimpse into what the future might hold if climate change is not mitigated. The effects have been severe, with places like Phoenix experiencing temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit for 31 consecutive days, leading to a strain on public services and even the need for additional body coolers at medical examiner’s offices.
In other parts of the world, such as Europe, Rome recorded a temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and residents in Beijing resorted to using full-face masks called “facekinis” to protect themselves from the intense sun. Iran’s Persian Gulf reached a heat index of 152 degrees, approaching the limits of human survival.
While the current climate situation is within the range of climate models’ predictions, some anomalies, like the record-low Antarctic sea ice, remain unexplained. The main driver of rising temperatures is the continued burning of fossil fuels, as global emissions have plateaued despite some efforts in developed countries to reduce coal, oil, and gas usage.
One problematic aspect is how quickly people can adapt to warmer temperatures, accepting them as the new normal. Yet, specific impacts of rising temperatures, especially in regions with extreme heat, can be catastrophic for human life and infrastructure as the world warms. Electric grids, roads, bridges, and other critical systems will face unprecedented challenges, as they were not designed to withstand such extreme conditions. The 1.5-degree Celsius threshold is a crucial target for world governments to effectively manage climate change’s impact. Each incremental increase in temperature brings more severe consequences. The urgency to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change becomes more apparent as the world approaches this tipping point.