Ready for the hardest trivia question of all time? I’m pretty sure Google is your only hope.
What do Kiane de Kleijne of the Netherlands, Katja Mintenbeck of Germany, Priyadarshi R. Shukla of India, Mikiko Kainuma of Japan, Keywan Riahi of Austria, Panmao Zhai of China, and Michael Taylor of Jamaica have in common?
- Humanity is likely to have caused about 1.0°C of warming already, and the IPCC projects Earth to likely reach 1.5°C of warming between 2030 and 2052 if it warming continues at its current rate.
- Things will get steadily worse (my language). They observe that risks for natural and human systems are higher than present day if we hit 1.5°C, but that risks at 1.5°C are also lower than those at 2.0°C. That may seem obvious, but good science requires evidentiary support for even the obvious things. This is good science.
- Global warming’s impacts are already being felt. From page 8, “Many land and ocean ecosystems and some of the services they provide have already changed due to global warming.”
- An increase of 1.5°C of global mean surface temperature does not mean that we will feel 1.5°C warmer at all times. Remember, that is an average, and extreme temperatures will be magnified further. For instance, from pages 8-9, “[E]xtreme hot days in mid-latitudes warm by up to about 3°C at global warming of 1.5°C….”
- We are currently emitting about 42 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. There is a lot of variability in our remaining carbon budget depending on models used (and they have a lot of uncertainty), but we seem to have between 420 and 570 gigatons left to have a 66% chance of keeping warming to 1.5°C.
- I’ll stop there and emphasize the last point. We still have a chance of reaching the aspirational goal, but we need to move quickly. I urge you not to lose hope.