A new study has revealed a 90 percent likelihood that global temperatures will rise anywhere from 2 degrees to 4.9 degrees Celsius by 2100, negating most optimism around climate change targets set by the world’s nations.
This increase, typically thought by climate experts as a “tipping point,” would lodge Earth in the mid-range warming scenarios detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations. In the worst-case scenario, temperatures are estimated to rise almost 6 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrial times.
University of Washington researchers arrived at the projected temperature rise based on statistical projections of half a century’s worth of data in different countries, Newsweek reported. They saw that the planet has a mere 5 percent chance of warming by 2 degrees or less in the next 80 years, and that the chance of turning the 1.5-degree increase established by the 2016 Paris climate accord into a reality is at only 1 percent.
The 2-degree goal is likely a best-case scenario, said lead author and UW professor Adrian Raftery.
“It is achievable, but only with major, sustained effort on all fronts over the next 80 years,” he explained.
The study focused on three factors shaping future greenhouse gas emissions: total world population, gross domestic product per person, and carbon intensity, or the amount of carbon emitted for every dollar of economic activity.
Separate research, for instance, noted that Earth is likely to have 11 billion people by century’s end.
Raftery said that while their new analysis sits well with previous estimates, the most optimistic projections are not likely to occur, with the world being “closer to the margin” than believed.
Paris Climate Change Agreement
John Sterman of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative dubbed the new research an “urgent call to action.” The United States must “dramatically speed the deployment of renewable energy and especially energy efficiency,” he stressed in a Guardian report.
In 2015, leaders from 195 nations reached the historic Paris climate deal to fight the effects of global warming. The agreement was to be in effect this 2020, with the United States committing to slash its emissions by 2025.
Back in June, however, President Donald Trump backed out of the agreement, abandoning earlier commitments amid criticisms from scientists such as Stephen Hawking, world leaders, and organizations.
Saying he is seeking to negotiate a better deal for the country, Trump referenced the accord as something that could hinder the United States from “conducting its own domestic affairs” and could hamper his administration’s ability to shape its environmental laws to benefit Americans.