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Earth Warming Limit of 1.5°C, Still Achievable

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The geophysical probability of controlling the increase in global average temperatures to 1.5°C, as agreed internationally through the Paris Climate Agreement, was investigated in a study conducted by a team of researchers at Oxford University.  It concludes that it is still possible to achieve but requires higher emission reductions than the levels vowed so far.

As co-author Professor Michael Grubb said, “This paper shows that the Paris goals are within reach, but clarifies what the commitment to ‘pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C’ really implies.”

According to co-author Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, the remaining carbon budget based on the IPCC 5th Assessment was previously estimated at around four times lower. Friedlingstein, an expert on carbon budgets for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said that this estimate is “very good news for the achievability of the Paris targets.”

Friedlingstein stressed also the need for more vigilance and boldness in reducing emissions as implied by their study, “Starting with the global review due next year, countries have to get out of coal and strengthen their existing targets so as to keep open the window to the Paris goals.

The sooner global emissions start to fall, the lower the risk not only of major climatic disruption but also of the economic disruption that could otherwise arise from the need for subsequent reductions at historically unprecedented rates, should near-term action remain inadequate.”

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