Climate change will be brought to the forefront of the global agenda in a matter of days when world leaders unite to discuss how to tackle the mounting crisis. The secretary-general of the UN said: “We are on a catastrophic path. We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future.” Express.co.uk speaks to climate experts about the ongoing environmental disaster and the temperature thresholds for global warming.
Climate is the average weather in a place over many years and climate change is a shift in those average conditions.
The world has already heated up by around 1.2C on average since the preindustrial era.
Warming up the temperature of the entire globe to this degree in little more than a century is terrifying.
As a result, oceans are being forced to absorb the heat equivalent to five Hiroshima atomic bombs dropping into the water every second.
The effects of this global warming are evident, Tom Bowman author of What If Solving The Climate Crisis Is Simple? and Empowering Climate Action said.
Mr Bowman told Express.co.uk: “With this warming, we already see hotter and longer heatwaves, which are magnified in cities; deeper and more lasting drought; more intense storms and floods; higher costs from extreme weather disasters; increasing loss of biodiversity; disruptions to familiar ecosystems; and real harm to people’s health.
“We already see mass migrations away from the tropical latitudes in the Middle East and Central America, where food and water insecurity, and challenges to farming, are driving people out of their homes.”
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In worst-case scenarios, temperatures are predicted to rise by 1.5C in the next six years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
This rate of warming is likely to come to pass if emissions are not mitigated at all.
However, intermediate projections where emissions begin declining around 2040 indicate the 1.5C temperature increase is likely to come into force in nine years’ time.
In the best-case scenario where emissions begin declining now and global temperatures peak at 1.8C, the projected increase of 1.5C is likely to come to pass in 11 years’ time.
Projected global temperature increases of 2C are likely in 20 years in a worst-case scenario and 31 years in an intermediate scenario.
The IPCC also projects temperature increases of 2.5C in 32 years in the worst-case scenario or 58 years in an intermediate scenario.
A 3C temperature increase would take place in 43 years at the earliest in the worst-case scenario according to the IPCC.
A 2C degree rise would have serious repercussions for the planet, in particular for melting ice and water levels, green energy analyst at EnergyRates.ca Siddha Mahajan said.
She said increased temperatures mean more ice melting and increased water levels which do not only impact coastal communities but also mean an altered water cycle of the earth.
Water dominates 71 percent of the earth’s surface and therefore it is key in changing weather patterns and seasons in different regions.
Ms Mahajan told Express.co.uk: “The Earth is not getting heated up for the first time.
“This phenomenon is natural and happens in a cycle of a hundred million years. What makes this temperature rise exceptional is that this is accelerated warming and not a natural pace, and human activities have induced this to advance in the race of development.”
Rising sea levels could also see places overwhelmed by waters, Jacob Wedderburn-Day, the cofounder of climate change social enterprise Treepoints said.
Low lying coastal areas could become completely submerged as a result the climate expert claims.
Mr Wedderburn Day told Express.co.uk: “Cities such as New York and London will face a significant risk of flooding without effective adaptation measures, whilst parts of Shanghai and Bangkok will become completely submerged without drastic action.
“Small island states, including the Maldives and Tuvalu, will be completely lost.”
At the same time, rising temperatures will make parts of the world “unliveable” with parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East potentially seeing temperatures reach 60C.
Increasing climate temperatures generally could prove devastating for the way people live and especially where they live Professor David Hill CBE, a passionate conservationist and chairman of The Environment Bank claims.
He told Express.co.uk: “As the temperature rises increase towards the 3.5C to 4C mark, large areas of the globe are likely to become uninhabitable.
“The climate temperature/space predictions I have seen at the higher end suggest large parts of France, Spain, Italy and southern Europe generally will be unbearable with crop growing largely impossible with obviously catastrophic impacts on real estate values. Where will people go?”