We’ve now missed our chance to limit global warming to less than 1.5°C
Just six months ago, 193 nations came together to prevent the temperature of the Earth increasing by two degrees because of the seriously terrible things that will happen if it does. Some nations pointed out that this didn’t go far enough, and that temperatures exceeding just 1.5 degrees would be enough to destroy them forever. With that in mind, leaders hastily agreed to include a line about “pursuing efforts” to prevent that 1.5°C increase.
Well, the door on that ambition is now closed, according to a new paper published in Nature. The research, led by Joeri Rogelj at the International Institute for Applied System Analysis, concludes that “the window for limiting warming to below 1.5°C with high probability and without temporarily exceeding that level already seems to have closed”.
Well, that was only a bonus ambition anyway, right? The main point is keeping things below 2°C, so we’re all gravy? Not so fast: Rogelj has bad news about that too, stating that the pledges agreed in Paris six months ago will probably see our temperatures rise by 2.6 to 3.1°C by the year 2100.[gallery:0]
A three-degree increase in temperatures would result in sea levels rising by up to six metres. That’s terrible news for the island nations that fought to hard to see the 1.5
A three-degree increase in temperatures would result in sea levels rising by up to six metres. That’s terrible news for the island nations that fought to hard to see the 1.5°C commitment included in the Paris deal, but as this interactive map shows, effects would be felt all over the world. I’ve included some map shots in the gallery above to give you an idea of what that would do to the world, but feel free to play around with the map yourself to allow the full sense of horror to set in.
We really need technology to step in and avert disaster at this point. Here are some of the options available, but each one needs significant improvement to make a major dent in a problem as daunting as this.
Image by Jon Feinstein, used under Creative Commons.