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Five Years Left to Save the Planet, Climate Clock Warns

Five Years Left to Save the Planet, Climate Clock Warns

The “Climate Clock” towering over Union Square in New York City reached a crucial turning point this weekend.

The time remaining to constrain global temperature rise to 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit — the ambitious objective of the 2015 Paris Agreement — decreased from six years to five. Scientists have long warned that surpassing the 34.7-degree mark would amplify the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, further destabilizing our planet.

In a midday announcement on Saturday, the Climate Clock team emphasized that the five-year mark is not a conclusion but rather a stark reminder that there is still a window of opportunity to avert the most devastating consequences of climate change.

“The biggest misconception about climate is that its impacts are in the future. This summer shows the devastating impacts are now. We need to act like we are living in a climate emergency,” the team stated.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by nearly every nation worldwide, committed signatories to limit temperature rise to 34.7 F or, at the most, well below 35.6 degrees. Currently, the world has already warmed to approximately 34.16 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 150 years, and projections indicate that it is on track to soar to 36.86 degrees F by the end of this century.

The repercussions of the climate crisis have become undeniably evident across the globe. Scorching, record-breaking heatwaves have impacted North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, while increasingly powerful storms have caused significant loss of life and destruction. Reports show that the world experienced its hottest week ever at the beginning of July, with June ranking as the hottest month in recorded human history.

The United States has been grappling with extreme temperatures caused by a stagnant heat dome over the past month. The National Weather Service reported that over 100 million people in the Southwest were under heat alerts over the weekend. Phoenix, Arizona, endured a record-breaking streak of 19 consecutive days with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Climate Clock relies on research from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin, which draws from data provided by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s preeminent authority on climate science.

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