We’ve just surpassed a historic climate threshold — and the world is still heating up.
As of Thursday morning, for the first time in recorded history, average temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere briefly crossed the threshold of 2 degrees Celsius above “normal.” Eric Holthaus picked up on the momentous occasion over at Slate, adding that global warming is now “going into overdrive.”
A few degrees warmer since preindustrial averages may not seem like much, but in the grand scheme of things, it matters. Countries around the world formally agreed years ago to hold warming under the 2-degree mark, and the respected Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned of the dangerous impacts of 2 degrees of global warming.
The news comes in the wake of a parade of record-shattering temperatures. Last year was the hottest on record for the globe, and last month is looking pretty warm, too:
Despite the enormity of the moment, not everyone is paying attention, as Holthaus pointed out. Maybe people will pay attention at 3 degrees, or 4 degrees … or … 5 … ?
Get Grist in your inbox