A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that half a degree of warming matters—a lot.
As part of the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, countries committed to keep global warming well below 2˚C (3.6˚F) above pre-industrial levels while trying to limit temperature increase to 1.5˚C (2.7˚F). Based on a request by governments, the IPCC, a collection of world’s leading climate scientists, took stock of how the impacts of a 1.5˚C temperature limit differ from 2˚C, as well as the differences between emissions pathways for achieving these two temperature goals. Their findings show that the world will face severe climate impacts even with 1.5 degrees of warming, and the effects get significantly worse with 2 degrees. The world has already witnessed about 1˚C of temperature rise and is on track to exhaust the carbon budget associated with 1.5˚C by 2030.
While all countries committed under the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to 1.5˚C-2˚C (2.7-3.6˚ F), major questions remained: How can the world achieve this temperature goal? And what happens if it doesn’t?
The world’s leading climate scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), answered these questions and more in their latest report released today. Nearly 100 scientists analyzed how the world can achieve the 1.5˚C goal, as well as impacts associated with this rise in temperature.
A lot has happened since countries met in Paris in 2015 and agreed on an accord to combat climate change. So far, more than 170 countries have ratified or otherwise joined the Paris Agreement, representing more than 80 percent of global emissions. Several major economies, including Canada, Germany and Mexico, have also developed long-term plans to decarbonize their economies.
Thousands of people are expected to attend the People’s Climate Movement march in Washington, D.C. and sister cities around the world this coming weekend. They are marching because actions taken to date by governments and others are not commensurate with the scale of climate impacts – both those already borne and those projected in the years to come.
Global energy demand rose by 2.1% in 2017, more than twice the previous year’s rate, boosted by strong global economic growth, with oil, gas and coal meeting most of the increase in demand for energy, and renewables seeing impressive gains.