The Paris conference has its set goal, but the proposed 2°C might not be enough to hold back global warming for a long time. In fact, some experts claim that stopping climate change to increase temperatures by that amount is essentially the bare minimum. Seemingly, it’s not our saving grace.
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference will see to around 195 nations attending the summit in France’s capital city, Paris. It will take place between November 30th and December 11th, where world leaders will be discussing our planet’s most major problem. Global warming is getting worse, affecting temperatures, crops, animals, sea level, and may even become harming to us indirectly.
If things continue as they are, and greenhouse gas emissions will raise global temperatures by 4oC (39.2oF), it could have drastic repercussions. Thus, all participating nations have left with the ambition of capping those rising temperatures by only 2oC (35.6oF). That has been considered to be the upper limit, the best of the worst that can be achieved. Stopping the temperatures from increasing by more would be even better.
Thousands of climate scientists have pondered on whether the 2oC cap is good enough. Their answer? “Probably”. That leaves room for error that our planet can ill-afford. According to Peter Cox, who is a professor at Exeter University, the improvement is a “political target” even though it’s difficult to trace the science behind it.
It’s not a random choice though. Experts and scientists have stated that it’s the bare minimum that has to be done in order to stave off the worst case scenarios. It’s not the golden goal that will effectively save Earth from all the potential consequences. In fact, in some countries, the 2oC goal might not be enough. Some regions with vulnerable ecosystems will still suffer from a 1.5oC increase, which is below the current target.
That means that even if the goal is achieved, multiple nations will still be taking the brunt of global warming.
So far, climate changes has caused temperatures to rise by just 1oC and many nations are feeling the consequences. There are droughts, floods, increasing temperatures within the waters, water levels rising, crop failures, and many others. If the current target is set, that still means that the planet will be worse off than it is now. In fact, it will be another degree worse.
That is why the 2oC cap on increasing temperatures will not be enough. According to Jean Jouzel, formerly a vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the UN, if the bar is set at just 2oC, there’s risk the ice sheets will melt in the future. With it, the water levels could rise up to 23 feet, and around 280 million people will be submerged. This includes major cities such as New York and Shanghai.
In conclusion, experts say that the 2oC will be enough to hold us, for a while. However, it’s not the best long-term goal.
Image source: iop.org