The report found that human-induced warming has risen to 1.19 °C over the past decade.

Rate of human-caused global warming at an all-time high: Report

Human-induced warming has risen to 1.19 °C over the past decade, noting an increase from the 1.14 °C seen in 2013-2022, says the report 

New research found that global warming caused by humans is advancing at 0.26 °C per decade – the highest rate since records began. The report comes as climate experts meet in Bonn to prepare the ground for the COP29 climate conference, which takes place in November in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The second annual Indicators of Global Climate Change report, led by the University of Leeds, found that human-induced warming has risen to 1.19 °C over the past decade (2014-2023). This is an increase from the 1.14 °C seen in 2013-2022, as per the last year’s report. 

Looking at 2023 in isolation, warming caused by human activity reached 1.3°C. This is lower than the total amount of warming experienced in 2023, which stood at 1.43 °C.  According to the analysis, this suggested that El Niño and other natural climatic variability contributed to the record temperatures in 2023.   

“Observed temperatures are a product of this long-term trend modulated by shorter-term natural variations. Last year, when observed temperature records were broken, these natural factors were temporarily adding around 10% to the long-term warming,” said Professor Piers Forster, director of the Priestley Centre for Climate Futures at the University of Leeds.

Other highlights from the report

According to the report, the global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased since 2019, reaching 419.3 parts per million (ppm), 1922.5 parts per billion (ppb) and 336.9 ppb, respectively, in 2023. 

Compared to 2019 levels, the emissions of non-methane short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) , which are primary air pollutants, recorded an increase in 2023. The year was also a record year for emissions of organic carbon, caused by an active biomass burning season, and ammonia, driven by an increase in agricultural sources and biomass burning.

The report said that the remaining carbon budget — how much carbon dioxide can be emitted before committing us to 1.5 °C of global warming — is only around 200 gigatonnes (billion tonnes), around five years’ worth of current emissions. 

In 2020, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculated the remaining carbon budget for 1.5 °C was in the 300 to 900 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide range, with a central estimate of 500. Global warming and CO2 emissions have continued since then. The remaining carbon budget for 1.5 °C was estimated to be between 100 and 450 gigatonnes by the beginning of 2024, with a central estimate of 200. 

IPCC’s next major assessment will not happen until around 2027. The report said that this creates an “information gap”, particularly when climate indicators are changing rapidly. 

Additionally, the research offered a fresh perspective on the results of sulphur emission reductions from the world’s shipping sector. By directly reflecting sunlight back to space and encouraging the formation of more reflective clouds, sulphur has a cooling influence on the climate. However, this cooling effect has been reduced by continuous reductions in those emissions. Although this was offset last year by the aerosol emissions from the Canadian wildfires, the report said the longer-term trend nonetheless indicated that the amount of cooling will continue to decline due to aerosol emissions.

The high rate of warming is caused by a combination of greenhouse gas emissions being consistently high, equivalent to 53 billion tonnes of CO2 per year.  The report said that these emissions are reducing the strength of human-caused cooling from particles in the atmosphere.

About The Author