Slate reported that this morning was the first time in human history in which average Northern Hemisphere temperatures were (briefly) greater than two degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. The two degree target was initially proposed by the European Union in the 1990s as the “magic number” to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. It was made an official goal for the international community at the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009. (Many have argued then and now that even two degrees may not be a safe target.) And, while El Niño accounts for a portion of this heat wave, Slate notes that its impact is likely small.
Either way, it is looking less and less viable that we will be able to keep warming under two degrees. Winter, it seems, is not coming.