14 Oct Paris Agreement on Climate Change 1.5 Degrees
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Why 1.5 Degrees Matters
The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, is a landmark agreement among nearly 200 countries to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The primary goal of the agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, with an aspirational target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
Why is the 1.5-degree target so important?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius would significantly increase the risks of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves. It could also lead to the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as food scarcity and water shortages. Furthermore, vulnerable populations, including low-lying coastal communities and island nations, would be disproportionately impacted by sea-level rise and other climate-related effects.
The IPCC’s special report on 1.5 degrees Celsius, released in October 2018, highlights the urgency of limiting global warming to this target. The report concludes that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require “rapid and far-reaching” changes in all aspects of society, including energy, land use, building, and transport. These changes would need to happen on a global scale and would require significant political will and investment.
What is being done to achieve the 1.5-degree target?
The Paris Agreement includes a five-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). However, the current NDCs are not enough to achieve the 1.5-degree target. According to the Climate Action Tracker, if all countries were to meet their current NDCs, global warming would still reach 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
To bridge this gap, countries must “enhance” their NDCs by 2020. This means increasing the ambition of their climate pledges to align with the 1.5-degree target. Some countries, including the European Union and several small island states, have already committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. However, many other countries, including the United States, China, and India, have yet to upgrade their climate pledges.
The 1.5-degree target is critical in combating climate change and protecting vulnerable communities and ecosystems. Achieving this target will require significant changes in all aspects of society, as well as increased political will and investment. As we approach the next round of NDCs, it is crucial that all countries step up their climate ambition and work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, with an aspirational target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.