1.5°C QUICK FACTS
WHAT 1.5C MEANS
THE TEMPERATURE GOAL IS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL TARGET FOR GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION
1.5C or below means holding the escalating increase in global temperatures to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above average pre-industrial levels. It also means stengthening the currently agreed international goal of below 2 degrees that we now know threatens global prosperity and even the existence of nations. Science and evidence calls for keeping warming to a minimum to help communities survive and thrive, leaving 1.5C as the only sensible choice for the international community. The 1.5C goal represents the best chance to fulfill the objective of the 195 state party UN climate change convention (UNFCCC) to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system.
1.5C IS THE MOST AMBITIOUS TARGET STILL CONSIDERED ACHIEVABLE, AND IT CAN BE DONE
It’s entirely possible to limit warming to below 1.5C provided ambitious actions are taken with urgency and consistently throughout the 21st century. Scenarios for achieving 1.5C resemble 2 degree action pathways but require a faster scale-up of emission cuts and significantly higher reductions between 2030 and 2050. Higher investments in a fast-paced, low-emissions transition are offset by reduced climate change impacts and a healthier more sustainable environment. The window of opportunity to achieve 1.5C narrows with each year of inadequate action on climate change by placing costly and unreasonable burdens for steep annual greenhouse gas cuts into the future.
WHAT IT TAKES
IT WILL TAKE STRONGER CLIMATE ACTION AND NET ZERO EMISSIONS BY MID-CENTURY TO ACHIEVE 1.5C
It requires a 70-95% reduction in warming greenhouse gas emissions compared with 2010 levels, whereas a 2 degree goal calls for a 40-70% reduction. It means achieving net zero emissions between 2045 and 2060, with reductions at the upper end of the range preferable. A 1.5C goal implies everbody must do more and every country must act decisively to combat climate change. It also means the benefits of those actions for health, safety and the environment accrue earlier and more substantially for all. And it means significantly higher levels of investment in climate action and in capacity building and technology transfer and development, particularly in support of developing countries who are often hit harder by the impacts of climate change. Nevertheless, adaptation will remain an urgent priority since warming would still double compared to today, with impacts that continue to exceed the capacity of communities to adapt.
WHY PARIS COUNTS
BECAUSE COP21 DECIDES WHETHER WE KEEP 2 DEGREES OR STRENGTHEN TO 1.5C, SEALING THE FATE OF NATIONS
The 2007-2010 UN climate negotiations under the UNFCCC agreed on a below 2 degrees goal as the central focus of actions for the world to combat climate change for the saftey of all people and our planet. At that same time it was agreed that the adequacy of this goal would be tested by what became an unprecedented international inquiry involving in-depth dialogue and analysis by scientists and nations alike. Recommendations under this review indicate that warming must be minimized and a 1.5C target is the lowest goal that remains achievable by us. But the final choice on whether or not to strenghten the 2 degrees goal to 1.5C is a fundamental decision for the COP21 Paris conference in 2015. On it rests the fate of nations and the world: if Paris takes the option of 1.5C off the table, time constraints may prevent ever having the choice to revert to 1.5C again.
MAKING SENSE OF DEGREES
STRENGTHENING THE 2 DEGREES GOAL BY JUST 0.5C TO 1.5 DEGREES WOULD MAKE A TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCE FOR THE SAFETY AND PROSPERITY OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD
International climate goals are measured in degrees celsisus (or centigrade) above average pre-industrial temperature levels (approximately since 1850). One degree Celsius is equivalent to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. These changes sound minimal, but approximately 0.75-0.85 degrees Celsius of warming to-date has already resulted in a doubling or more of extremely hot days and hot nights in many countries and unleashed unprecedented storms, floods, drought, food crises, glacial and permafrost melting, land subergence and many other challenges around the world. 1.5C already doubles the increased heat we are feeling now and with it will greatly amplify the impacts we’re already dealing with today. 2 degrees not only invokes risks that could jeopardise the survival of nations, it also increases the chances of destabilising feedback mechanisms that could carry warming even further.