Thursday, November 04, 2021

Climate Change: Hope from Glasgow

Among all the "blah blah blah", there's an actual hopeful point emerging from COP in Glasgow: for the first time, emissions pledges have us headed below two degrees:

The pledges on greenhouse gas emissions on the table at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow would limit global temperature rises to below 2C, the first time the world has been on such a trajectory, according to research.

Plans by India, the world’s third biggest emitter, have made a sizeable difference to the global temperature estimate, research by the University of Melbourne has found.

If its commitments and those of other nations at the talks are fulfilled, temperatures would probably rise by about 1.9C above pre-industrial levels. That would be lower than the 2C upper limit but higher than the 1.5C lower limit set out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Of course, two degrees is still a disaster, which will see millions of avoidable deaths and millions more dislocated due to rising seas, famine, and ecosystem collapse. We need to flatten that curve even more, to get it below the safe(ish) threshold of 1.5 degrees. But this is a start, and it hopefully means we can use the Paris ratchet mechanism for deeper cuts in future. The question is if we can do it before its too late.