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Title:Can We Still Limit Global Warming to 1.5°C? Here’s What the Latest Science Says
Date:3/17/2023 9:54:12 AM

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is set to release its synthesis of the Sixth Assessment Report early next week. Among the thousands of questions the report addresses by summarizing the latest climate research, one of the most hotly debated is this: Is it still possible to limit future global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels? Or has that ship sailed?

These assessments tell us that, in theory, there is still a path we could forge that would enable us to limit future warming to 1.5°C or less. In reality, we are dangerously far from that path, and we will likely exceed the 1.5°C limit in the next 10-15 years. Warming beyond the 1.5°C mark, however, would bring us closer to dangerous tipping points and accelerate severe climate impacts, so even if we know we’re likely to overshoot that mark, we have to keep aiming for it.

We are here, just a few tenths of a degree away from the 1.5°C mark, because of decades of inaction on the part of policymakers and decades of deception and obstruction on the part of fossil fuel companies. To secure the livable future that children around the world deserve, we must double down, ratchet up pressure on governments, and break the power of the fossil fuel industry.

The goal of limiting future warming to 1.5°C or less above pre-industrial levels is a cornerstone of the Paris Agreement - one that was hard won by an alliance of small island states and the least developed countries around the world who considered it to be a relatively sufficiently safe limit to future warming, given the existential threats they face. Research on the differences in impacts between a 1.5°C warming and a 2°C warming has largely confirmed that view. As first reported in the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, this half-degree increment represents the difference between losing 70% of the world’s coral reefs and losing 99% of them; having an ice-free Arctic Ocean once every 100 years or once...

Organization:Union of Concerned Scientists - Global Warming
Date Added:3/18/2023 6:38:02 AM