There’s about a 40 percent chance that the global average temperature for at least one of the next five years will be 1.5º Celsius higher than in pre-industrial times—and the odds are only going up. That level of temperature increase would most likely be temporary, according to an annual climate update published by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). But the figure is significant because most global leaders committed to taking actions that would limit global warming to 1.5ºC and well below 2ºC by the end of the century when they signed the Paris Agreement in 2015. “We are getting measurably and inexorably closer to the lower target of the Paris Agreement on climate change,” WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. “It is yet another wakeup call that the world needs to fast-track commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.” Last year tied with 2016 for the warmest on record, with temperatures 1.2OC above pre-industrial times. The past seven years have been the warmest seven ever recorded, a sign that climate change is accelerating. Man-made global warming is manifesting itself in phenomena such as rising sea levels, melting sea ice, and extreme weather events. While a year with average temperatures 1.5OC warmer than pre-industrial times is likely to be a one-off, that doesn’t mean the next half-decade will come in below recent records either. Average temperatures are likely to be at least 1OC warmer in each of the coming five years, with the WMO estimating they’ll be between 0.9OC and 1.8OC.