1.5 to stay alive has been the climate change rallying cry of the Caribbean and other small island developing states even before it became an official target under the Paris Agreement. A draft UN report says that the goal of keeping global temperature increases below 1.5 ºCelsius is unlikely to be achieved unless drastic action is taken:
The Paris Agreement goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius will slip beyond reach unless nations act now to slash carbon pollution, curb energy demand, and suck CO2 from the air, according to a draft UN report.
Without such efforts, “holding warming to 1.5 C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the 21st century [is] extremely unlikely”, said the 1,000-page report, prepared by hundreds of scientists.
“There is a very high risk that under current emissions trajectories, and current national pledges, global warming will exceed 1.5 C above preindustrial levels,” the report said.
On current trends, Earth’s thermometer will cross that threshold in the 2040s, said the report.
The greenhouse gas emissions guaranteeing that outcome will have been released within 10 to 15 years.
Under any scenario, there is no model that projects a 66-per cent-or-better chance of holding global warming below 1.5 C, the synthesis of recent scientific studies concluded.
With only a single degree Celsius of warming so far, our planet is already coping with a crescendo of climate impacts including deadly droughts, erratic rainfall, and storm surges engorged by rising seas.