50:50 chance of global temperature rise over 1.5oC
18 May 2022
By RJ Heron
Greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, etc.) are causing the temperature of the earth to increase at rate never seen before. By reducing the emissions of these gases it is possible to reduce and reverse the process of climate change and its impacts.
1.5oC above preindustrial levels (the average over the years 1850-1900) is the global target that we are aiming for under the 2015 Paris agreement. Ideally we will prevent global average temperature increasing above 1.5 , with an absolute goal to prevent temperature rise over 2oC.
Within the NHS, and in support of the global Paris agreement, we’ve pledged to reduce our carbon emissions to reach net zero by 2040. The strategy that outlines process is set out within our Green Plan.
What are our chances?
The likelihood of the global average temperature temporarily exceeding the target has continued to increase as we emit more greenhouse gases. In 2015 the likelihood was close to zero, the period of 2017-2021 there was a 10% chance, and now in the current period from 2022-2026 there is a 50% chance.
We’re already feeling the impact
In India and Pakistan temperatures have recently recorded temperatures of almost 50oC in recent weeks, during this unprecedented spring heatwave, parts of the two countries have recorded their highest average temperature on record.
California is also experiencing the impact of increasing temperatures, with wildfires spreading across the US state causing damage to property. Events such as these are becoming more frequent as a result in global temperature rise caused by climate change.
The UK is not exempt from experiencing these extreme weather events too; with a rise in wild fires over the summer and increased flood risks. These events have an impact on our health; this is why as a healthcare provider we have a role to play in addressing the problem.
What can be done?
In 2021, the global average temperature was 1.1oC above preindustrial levels. There is still time to act and take action prevent any further increase in temperature.
Tackling such a big problem can feel overwhelming but the good news is that everyone can do something. From the simplest of changes like walking for a journey you might drive, to bigger things like installing solar panels, it all makes a positive difference to our carbon emissions. Now is the time to start making these changes.
For handy tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint check out the top tips section of our website. There is also the option of making a pledge to make one change to reduce your carbon footprint through our Dare to Care webpage.