New Climate Studies: Worse Risks at 2°C Rise, Higher Rise Likely

Men and children withdrawing water for irrigation
Men and children withdrawing water for irrigation in the Dogon plateau (Mali) during a sandstorm day. Credit: Velio Coviello via imaggeo.egu.eu, CC BY-SA 3.0

New Climate Studies: Worse Risks at 2°C Rise, Higher Rise Likely

Although the Paris agreement scheduled to be signed 22 April aims for a 2°C warming cap, new findings show that even a 1.5°C rise will hit glaciers hard.

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To limit temperature increases to just 1.5°C, countries may need to strengthen their emission reduction pledges significantly. Even if the current Paris commitments are met and extended beyond 2030, global temperatures are on track to rise 3°C above the preindustrial average, said Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate scientist Erwan Monier.

He collaborated in another study, also presented at the EGU meeting this week, that combined a human activity model with a climate model to look at five different global warming scenarios through 2100. His team found that there is only a 5% probability that the Paris agreement will keep global temperatures below 2°C, even with the most optimistic outlook.

Nonetheless, Monier told Eos that it is still possible to limit temperatures to 2°C by the end of the century. However, that would require major changes in policy. "We're not on that path right now, but it's totally achievable," he said. "I think most people know some policy tools that would get us there, like a carbon tax. But there's unwillingness to actually use those."

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Source: Gannon, M. (2016), New climate studies: Worse risks at 2° rise, higher rise likely, Eos, 97, doi:10.1029/2016EO051095.

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