The world is likely to break a key temperature limit for the first time over the next few years, scientists predict, the BBC reports.
Researchers say there’s now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027.
The chances are rising due to emissions from human activities plus the El Niño weather event expected this summer.
If the world passes the limit, scientists stress the breach, while worrying, will likely be temporary.
Hitting the threshold would mean the world is 1.5C warmer than it was during the second half of the 19th Century, before fossil fuel emissions from industrialization really began to ramp up.
The 1.5C figure has become a symbol of global climate change negotiations. Countries agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C under the 2015 Paris agreement.
Going over 1.5C every year for a decade or two would see far greater impacts of warming, such as longer heatwaves, more intense storms and wildfires.
But passing the level in one of the next few years would not mean that the Paris limit had been broken. Scientists say there is still time to restrict global warming by cutting emissions sharply.