Greenhouse gas emissions have reached an ‘all-time high’

8 Jun 2023

Image: © adydyka2780/

The study warns that the world’s carbon budget has been reduced by roughly 50pc in the past three years, making it more likely the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold will be breached.

A team of scientists are developing a new open data platform to show key climate indicators, as a new study warns of an “unprecedented” level of human-induced warming worldwide.

A study which assessed the major indicators of the climate crisis warns that human-induced warming has averaged 1.14 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for the past decade. This rate of warming appears to be increasing at a pace of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade.

The study attributed the high warming rate to greenhouse gas emissions being “at an all-time high” and reductions in the strength of aerosol cooling.

Another major finding of the study is the reduction in the world’s remaining ‘carbon budget’. This budget is an estimate of how much carbon can be released into the atmosphere and we’d still have a 50pc chance of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The study suggests the carbon budget has been reduced by roughly 50pc between 2020 and 2023.

Prof Piers Forster of the University of Leeds said this is “the critical decade” for the climate crisis as decisions made now will decide the severity of impacts in the future.

“We need to be nimble footed in the face of climate change,” Forster said. “We need to change policy and approaches in the light of the latest evidence about the state of the climate system. Time is no longer on our side. Access to up-to-date information is vitally important.”

To help give policymakers and other stakeholders access to up-to-date scientific information, the researchers are creating a custom dashboard that will include information on greenhouse gas emissions, human-induced global warming and the remaining carbon budget.

The initiative is led by the University of Leeds and includes researchers from around the world, including Maynooth University Icarus director Prof Peter Thorne.

“It is critical that policy makers and the general public be made aware of how quickly we are changing the climate through our collective activities,” Thorne said. “Already since the IPCC assessment of the physical science basis in 2021, key numbers have changed markedly and we remain well off track globally to avert warming above 1.5 degrees.”

A recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency suggested Ireland will miss its emissions reduction targets by a significant margin with its current measures.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic