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GENEVA/LONDON: A report from the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says it’s likely the annual average global temperature will reach 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels at least once in the next five years.

The odds of exceeding the Paris Agreement threshold has risen from 2015 when it was close to zero to 10 percent between 2017 and 2021 and now 50:50 from 2022.

“This study shows – with a high level of scientific skill – that we are getting measurably closer to temporarily reaching the lower target of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” commented WMO secretary general Prof. Petteri Taalas. “The 1.5°C figure is not some random statistic,” he added. “It is rather an indicator of the point at which climate impacts will become increasingly harmful for people and indeed the entire planet.”

With the UK’s Met Office acting as lead, meteorologists from Spain, Germany, Canada, China, USA, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Denmark contributed to the latest WMO forecast.

“For as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases, temperatures will continue to rise. And alongside that, our oceans will continue to become warmer and more acidic, sea ice and glaciers will continue to melt, sea level will continue to rise and our weather will become more extreme. Arctic warming is disproportionately high and what happens in the Arctic affects all of us,” noted Taalas.

Despite the warning, the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) says reporting member companies now represent a combined US$38 trillion – a third of the world’s market capital and a rise of 20 percent since 2020:

• At the end of 2021, 2,253 companies across 70 countries and 15 industries had approved emissions reductions targets or commitments with the SBTi.

• Almost 80 percent of targets approved in 2021 were aligned with 1.5°C. Between 2015-2020, the majority of companies with 1.5°C targets cut emissions twice as fast as required.

• The world has reached the 20 percent critical mass of science-based targets adoption among high impact companies.

• Science-based targets are associated with a 12 percent emissions reduction across Scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2020 and a longer-term reduction of 29 percent since 2015. SBTi companies are delivering excess reductions at an accelerated rate compared to their peers.

• The SBTi is calling on companies worldwide to align with its Net-Zero Standard to accelerate immediate corporate emissions reductions in line with 1.5°C. There are now 11 companies with approved net-zero targets and more than 1,000 companies committed.

However, it admits “heavy-emitting industries continue to be under-represented” and its members don't include oil and gas producers.

According to French NGO Reclaim Finance, 12 banks, including JP Morgan, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, have granted French oil and gas major TotalEnergies a new US$8 billion revolving credit facility to expand oil and gas projects in Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania and Australia.

Despite International Energy Agency recommendations of no more money for new oil and gas projects, and based on the company’s climate targets, Reclaim Finance calculates the new funds will help TotalEnergies consume its entire 1.5°C carbon budget by 2035 at the latest.
 
 
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