Half a degree can make a world of difference. If Earth warms by just 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial times by 2100, rather than 2 degrees, we would see fewer life-threatening heat, drought and precipitation extremes, less sea level rise and fewer species lost. Those findings are detailed in a report, a summary of which was released October 8, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, following its weeklong meeting in Incheon, South Korea. The report is the result of dozens of climate scientists sifting through dozens of recent studies and new datasets probing the impact of a global temperature hike of 1.5 degrees. “This will be one of the most important meetings in the IPCC’s history,” Hoesung Lee, a climate economist at Korea University in South Korea and current IPCC chair, said in his opening address October 1. Three years ago, in 2015, 195 nations signed onto the Paris agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees by 2100 (SN: 1/9/16, p. 6). Getting all the delegates on the same 2-degree-warming page was a hard-won victory. But many scientists have warned that the 2-degree target isn’t stringent enough to… Read full this story
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