What Would a Global Warming Increase of 1.5 Degrees Be Like?
How ambitious is the world? The Paris climate conference last December astounded many by pledging not just to keep warming “well below two degrees Celsius,” but also to "pursue efforts" to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C. That raised a hugely important question: What's the difference between a two-degree world and a 1.5-degree world?
Given we are already at one degree above pre-industrial levels, halting at 1.5 would look to be at least twice as hard as the two-degree option. So would it be worth it? And is it even remotely achievable?
In Paris, delegates called on the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to report on the implications of a 1.5 target. They want the job done by 2018, in time to inform renewed talks on toughening emissions targets beyond those agreed upon in Paris.
But the truth is that scientists are only now getting out of the blocks to address what a 1.5-degree world would look like, because until recently it sounded like a political and technological impossibility. As a commentary published online in Nature Climate Change last week warned, there is "a paucity of scientific analysis” about the consequences of pursuing a 1.5-degree target.
Read more at Yale Environment360.
Image credit: NASA