A report by the World Meteorologic Organization (WMO) foresees a temperature increase of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of 21st century. This is two to three times higher than the global aim of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is the temperature that scientists say could help prevent the devastating effects of climate change.

The predicted temperature increase may be the biggest shift in temperatures since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. WMO also says that the past 10 years have also been the hottest since 1850.

The report from WMO sets the scene for this year’s two-week UN Climate Conference attended by delegates from around 200 countries, where U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres urged delegates to choose hope over surrender in fighting against climate change. 

WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas said during the summit that “we would need to bend emissions” to reach a 1.5-degree increase while noting that countries have not been acting on their Paris Agreement pledges. WMO says emissions are not slowing down and have been rising to record levels.

Research by the Pottsdam Institute for Climate Impact and Research and Climate Analytics suggests that a 4-degree rise in temperature may cause major changes to the environment, including ice vanishing from north and south pole, rainforests turning to desert, flooding due to rising sea levels, and permanent loss of plant and animal diversity.

Companies Pledging Emission Cuts Anew

In response to the urgent crisis, companies and financial institutions are making new promises to address climate change. European Union leaders in Brussels are set to commit to cut net emissions to zero by 2050 and lift green investment. Repsol SA in Spain announced its plan to get rid of all greenhouse emissions from its operations by 2050, becoming the first major oil to support the goals of the Paris Agreement. Cargill, Inc., one of the world’s biggest agricultural companies, plans to eliminate 30% of its emissions from its supply chains by 2030.