Report: Temperatures May Have Exceeded +1.5°C a Decade Ago

Report: Temperatures May Have Exceeded +1.5°C a Decade Ago
Photo: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • According to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the Earth may have already breached the 1.5°C threshold above pre-industrial levels per the 2015 Paris Agreement. It further noted that surface temperatures may have hit +1.7°C between 2018 and 2022 and that global temperatures could reach +2°C soon.

  • The scientists analyzed types of sponges, which were collected off the coast of Puerto Rico in the eastern Caribbean and grew layer by layer for centuries, offering insight into 300-year-old ocean temperatures. From this, they determined that the pre-industrial era should be pushed back to between the 1700s and 1860. The period currently used as a basis for global warming is 1850-1900.

The Spin

Narrative A

Using this study as a basis for understanding the complex issue of climate change is ill-advised. First of all, much more needs to be known about the sponges and how they age — and using only sponges collected from one region of the world will not result in an understanding of surface temperatures globally. If this study is taken too seriously, it could blur the scientific consensus relied upon to win the global fight against climate change.

Narrative B

Whether global temperatures reached +1.5°C recently or not is somewhat irrelevant. The agreed-upon limit was set at 20 consecutive years of above pre-industrial temperatures, which means the world still has time and must work to bring CO2 levels down before it's too late. If we spend all our time debating at which point the limit has been breached — as a study like this suggests — we will one day wake up having crossed that threshold with no path of return.

Narrative C

The possibility that the Paris Agreement limit has already been passed shows how useless and misleading climate alarmism has been. Every climate solution proposed by the so-called experts on this topic has systematically stripped the developing world of any chance it has to grow and prosper. Instead of the rich and powerful putting their money toward strengthening economies and infrastructure, climate alarmists have made the world poorer and weaker with spongey science like this.

Nerd narrative

There is a 50% chance that the average global temperature in 2100 will be at least 2.61˚C higher than the average global temperature in 1880, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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