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A new warning from climate experts that there is now a 50/50 chance that the world will cross a critical global warming threshold by 2026.

Described by Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan, as “hugely significant”, the advisory from leading meteorologists now raises huge concerns that the earth will warm up by more than 1.5 degrees celsius within the next five years.

Researchers are warning that there is a strong likelihood that one of the Summers between this year and 2026 will be the hottest on record. They said that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are slowly creeping up and that it is incumbent upon us all that to do everything we can to severely reduce, if not cut the use of fossil fuels.

CATASTROPHIC RESULTS FOR THE PLANET

The chance of global warming exceeding the 1.5 degrees ceiling within the next five years was just above zero in 2015. By 2020 this had risen to 20%.

Now, the World Meteorological Organisation has confirmed that this has risen to a 50/50 chance between now and 2026, with annual temperature records almost certain to be broken and the pace of warming in the Arctic set to hit three times the global average.

On its own, one single year of warming above 1.5 degrees celsius would not breach the threshold set by the Paris Climate Agreement. It would however, highlight how close to the brink of critically harmful and irreversible climate change our planet and humanity has come.

This critical breach of the temperature threshold will have catastrophic results for the planet with

seas becoming higher and more acidic, polar ice sheets and glaciers continuing to disappear and communities across the globe experiences more frequent and consequently more dangerous weather events.

ALL HUMAN SYSTEMS WOULD BE PUT AT RISK

An inter-governmental group on climate change has concluded that allowing global warming to exceed 1.5 degrees celsius to reach say, 2 degrees of warming, would result in a further ten centimetre rise in sea levels by 2100.

It would also have the potential to push several hundred million people, particularly from communities in the developing world, into extreme poverty purely as a result of climate disasters.

This breach would also result in the extinction of several groups of wildlife from insects to fauna as well as multiple species of flora.

Ultimately, all human and man-made systems, from economic to health would be put at risk.

Minister Ryan has issued an urgent call to action, urging the Irish people to “act now to cut emissions to save the planet”. “We are reaching the various tipping points that make climate change irreversible,” said the minister, “so we have to heed the warning. It’s not the first, it’s one of many, but it is now time to act.”

“AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO EMIT GREENHOUSE GASES TEMPERATURES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE”

With a 93% probability that by 2026, the earth will experience a Summer hotter than 2016 when countries across the globe sweltered in record-breaking temperatures caused by El Nino, it is also now a certainty that the average temperatures for the next five years will exceed those of the previous five, as the climate crises continues to rage.

According to Prof. Petteri Taalas, Head of the WMO, this latest warning should act as a stark reminder of just how catastrophic the impact of climate change has become and will continue to be for humanity and the planet. “For as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases, temperatures will continue to rise,” he said. “Alongside that, our oceans will continue to become warmer and more acidic, sea levels will continue to rise, and our weather will become more extreme.”

As this latest report from the WMO clearly indicates how close our actions are bringing us to the climate change threshold, it also acts as an alarm bell, calling us to take urgent and drastic action in relation to emissions, fossil fuels and other pollutants.

WHAT CAN I/WE DO?

The climate change crisis affects and will continue to affect us all. From food production to flower pollination, water levels to animal welfare, from current and future generations of the world’s population – everything, everywhere and everyone will be impacted by what we do now. Or don’t do.

What can I do? We do?

We can own our actions and take responsibility for our share of the damage and our contribution to the reduction of emissions, waste and environmental damage.

MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK

From energy management to assessing our environmental impact. From reducing our carbon footprint by simple measures such as switching off the tap and turning off the lights. Many hands make light work and if we all pull together we can stop the upward trajectory of climate change. But we need to act now.

If you are concerned that your company or business is not pulling its weight, why not look to ISO to help manage your energy consumption, waste disposal or environmental responsibilities. By committing to the requirements of ISO Standards such as 14001, 50001 and 9001 businesses no matter how small or disparate, can make a vital contribution to the urgent reduction in emissions needed if we are to save our planet and ourselves.

This isn’t a dress rehearsal. The climate crisis is real and we need to act now and act as one.

CG Business Consultants are experts in the areas of Energy and Environmental management. We can talk you through the various ISO options around standards that will help your business to combat climate change.

Got five minutes? Why not read our latest environmentally friendly blog, “May is the Month of Not Cutting Back”? Got ten? Why not deep dive into the world of ESG with our blog “How Sustainability Became the Key to Competitive Strategy”.

David Whelan, Logistics / QEHS Manager Grundfos Ireland "We found the level of competency from the team to be of a very high level compared with other consultants. CGBC worked to get a very thorough understanding of our business, this made life easier for us and meant they could give us some very helpful advice."