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World’s first year-long breach of key 1.5C warming limit

For the first time, global warming has exceeded 1.5C across an entire year, according to the EU’s climate service, the BBC reports.

World leaders promised in 2015 to try to limit the long-term temperature rise to 1.5C, which is seen as crucial to help avoid the most damaging impacts.

This first year-long breach doesn’t break that landmark “Paris agreement”, but it does bring the world closer to doing so in the long-term.

Urgent action to cut carbon emissions can still slow warming, scientists say.

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

“It’s another step in the wrong direction. But we know what we’ve got to do.”

Limiting long-term warming to 1.5C above “pre-industrial” levels – before humans started burning large amounts of fossil fuels – has become a key symbol of international efforts to tackle climate change.

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