World leaders met in Paris, from 195 different countries, in a groundbreaking effort to reach common agreements and find a way to work united against climate degradation. The main goal set was to not allow global temperature to rise more than 2 degrees until 2100.
While this is a great goal to be set, a new study by the Nature website shows that we shouldn’t be too fast to be enthusiastic. On the one hand, the authors of the study, led by Joeri Rogelj, a researcher at the IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), are quite pessimistic that this goal will be reached. The researchers believe that way stronger measures are needed in order to cut down on temperature rise. They calculate a need to reduce green house gas emissions by 3 or 4 per cent each year until 2030, which the year that the pledge ends. They figure that this goal is entirely plausible to achieve, if countries like China take a better advantage of wind power, or other countries with nuclear capability, use nuclear together with renewable sources, in order to lessen their carbon footprint.
However, even if this happens, the researchers stay pessimistic. That is because even if the far-reaching goal of 2 Celsius degrees is achieved, they put an emphasis on the fact that even that is not enough. The damage in some parts of the world, such as the Middle East and Africa, is already too grave, and impossible to change. These areas will be inhabitable by the end of the century due to the heat, the Arctic will warm by 20 degrees, and the sea level will rise in a shocking speed. All of these are things that will happen anyhow, even in the best-case scenario concerning environmental policy is followed.
Even though this is a very grim analysis, it should at least make us realize the gravity of the situation and motivate us to start taking direct action. Even though for some parts of the globe, it is already too late, for others it isn’t, and we better act before it is.