The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. body, released a report in late 2018 highlighting the importance of keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. To date, average global temperatures have already increased by 1°C. The report details how much worse the effects of global climate change would be should temperatures increase by 2.0°C celsius or higher.
The IPCC press release states that limiting global warming to a 1.5°C increase — about 2.7°F — “would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Indeed, climate scientists estimate it would require massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions almost immediately, and zero global emissions by 2050.
The global community is nowhere near to making that goal a reality, particularly as the United States, one of the largest carbon emitters, has announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, which it will do in 2020. Many experts are saying that the globe is already locked in at a 2.0°C increase, the point at which the consequences will become much more severe.
But should a major change occur in the immediate future and global warming is halted at that 1.5°C target, it is important to note that this does not mean the effects of global climate change on the Earth and its population will not be serious. Already, the approximately 1.0°C increase has had severe impacts on the globe’s weather, sea levels, and ecosystems. When 1.5°C is reached, which could happen as early as 12 years from now, the impacts, as determined by scientists and experts around the world, are projected to be disastrous.
24/7 Wall St. consulted reports by groups such as the IPCC, NASA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and more, to identify the effects of global warming that either have already taken place, or will occur even if warming is limited to a 1.5°C increase.