Record temperatures: ‘Planet’s thermostat is cranked up’

Posted on June, 05 2024

May 2024 is the 12th consecutive month with record-high temperatures.
Bonn, Germany (5 June): As the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warns that global temperatures are likely to exceed 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels in next 5 years, WWF calls for urgent action to reduce emissions and to protect and restore natural ecosystems. 

This comes as new data from Copernicus Climate Change, also released today, reveals that May 2024 is the 12th consecutive month with record-high temperatures.

Stephen Cornelius, WWF Deputy Climate and Energy Lead, said: “The planet's thermostat is cranked up, with records being broken more regularly than when Usain Bolt was competing. Every fraction of a degree of global warming matters, as the hotter it gets the more harm climate change causes people and nature. We need to slash greenhouse gas emissions or we’ll overshoot way past 1.5°C of global warming. To limit warming we must phase out fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas - and swiftly move to 100% clean renewable energy, as well as to protect and restore natural ecosystems.”

Stephanie Roe, WWF Global Climate & Energy Lead Scientist, said: "We keep obtaining more and more alarming data. We're continuously seeing record-breaking temperatures, droughts, floods and economic damage from climate change. It's wake-up call after wake-up call. We should be accelerating efforts to meet the Paris Agreement goals and avert the worst of the climate crisis now. Future generations depend on the actions we take today."

With the WMO predicting an 80% likelihood of at least one year exceeding 1.5°C between 2024-2028, the world is edging ever closer to crossing the 1.5oC Paris Agreement goal. 
This short-term annual warming does not equate to a permanent breach of the lower 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal, but it is a grave warning sign. Passing the Paris Agreement threshold would require the global average temperature to remain above 1.5oC for a 20-year average period. Unless there is an immediate and deep reduction in emission across all sectors and regions, Earth is set to overshoot 1.5oC in the early 2030s. 


Robin Harvey 
Izrael Muhamad 


WWF’s COP29 Expectations Paper ‘Financing the Future: Unleashing Climate Action’ is available to download here

WWF’s Climate and Energy Policy Manifesto 2024 ‘Turning the tide on tipping points: Aiming higher, doing more and exploring synergetic solutions’ is available to download here

Find out more about WWF and COP29 here: