How we can keep global warming below the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal – The Washington Post

by | Dec 1, 2022 | Climate Change

It’s the world’s most important climate goal: limiting the Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). It’s the aspiration of global agreements, and to inhabitants of some small island nations, the marker of whether their homes will continue to exist.Keeping warming this low will help save the world’s coral reefs, preserve the Arctic’s protective sea ice layer and could avoid further destabilizing Antarctica and Greenland, staving off dramatic sea level rise.But with the world having already warmed by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial temperatures, achieving the goal is in grave doubt.To see what hope remains, The Washington Post examined over 1,200 different scenarios for climate change over the coming century, based on the models produced by the world’s leading climate scientists and considered in a key 2022 report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Working with experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, we explored the central features of these scenarios — how fast the world embraces clean energy, how quickly we can remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere — and looked at how these in turn affect the planet’s temperature over the course of the century.The results, as you will see, show a world that keeps inching closer to catastrophic climate change. But they also point a way toward a less hot future. The scenarios help show us what needs to be done — and what we can still do.Out of more than 1,200 scenarios — some with temperatures rising as high as 5°C above preindustrial levels — 230 paths leave our planet below 1.5°C before the end of the century.Draw this chart againEach of these thin strands is based on sophisticated computer simulations that calculate how fast the economy and the population will grow, how quickly climate technology will advance, how rapidly we will cut our use of fossil fuels and then on top of that, the temperatures expected to result.But when we look at those scenarios that have the temperature closing out the century below 1.5C, there is a big problem. With t …

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