Thursday, September 10, 2020

Climate Change: Overshoot

California is burning down again. In Oregon, the city of Medford - a town the size of Palmerston North - has had to be evacuated due to the fires. In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Rene has become the earliest "R"-storm to form since records began, beating the previous record by 10 days. The Thwaites Glacier is melting from below. If this sounds bad, its because it is: we look to be on track to exceed the 1.5 degree safe limit as early as 2024:

The Paris climate agreement seeks to limit global warming to 1.5℃ this century. A new report by the World Meteorological Organisation warns this limit may be exceeded by 2024 – and the risk is growing.

This first overshoot beyond 1.5℃ would be temporary, likely aided by a major climate anomaly such as an El NiƱo weather pattern. However, it casts new doubt on whether Earth’s climate can be permanently stabilised at 1.5℃ warming.

Despite the promises made in Paris, we've kept polluting, pumping more and more carbon into the atmosphere, driving temperatures higher and higher. We are already beginning to pay the price for that, in fire, flood, storms, and death. And that price is going to get higher the longer we can continue.

We can still stop this. It requires sustained global action to cut emissions and decarbonise our economies. We have the technology to do this. What we need is the policies to make us use that technology. We have an election next month, and that is our chance to make that happen. Or would you rather wait around to burn and drown and die of heatstroke?