What we can achieve
If we keep on emitting as much as currently, we will overshoot the political target of 1.5°C substantially.
This means that by stopping to burn fossil fuels, the earth will heat up by another 0.5°C. Even though this does not mean that
the effort to reduce the use of fossil fuels isn´t good or necessary, the masking effect needs to be accounted for when looking
at the expected warming in the next decades.
Partly the reason for these fingerprints are stable, bright cloud formations. Climate models show though, that these won´t stay stable for longer periods of time – due to climate change. Thus, these areas will also warm up as the cloud formations disappear.
This leads to an additional warming of about 0.3°C.
It consists of the current warming, mask and pattern effect.
This puts us into the 6th mass extinction – which ich entirely due to anthropogenic (i.e. human-made) causes.
soil sealing and deforestation
All image sources: pexels.com
and soil due to nitrogen input
More extreme weather events
Increase in ocean temperature
Additionally mass extinction isn´t linear but cascading. This means, that the extinction of one species leads to the extinction of many others.
Thus, the whole system becomes increasingly unstable and thus more vulnerable e.g. to pandemics..
At a 50% percent chance, the production of wheat and corn will abrutly decrease by 10%.
Scientists expect this to increase to 17% by 2070 – this affects 3.5 billion people
The surface area less than one meter above the sea surface is currently inhabitated by 230 million people.
To limit warming to 1.5°C in the long run, emissions need to be lowered by 43% in the next eight years – till 2030. Net-zero needs to be accomplished by 2050.
These calculations target 1.5°C warming long-term, but allow for a greater warming in the meantime (“limited overshoot”). Additionally, the probability for this path is set to as low as >= 50%.
Whats´s important to keep in mind: Even 1.5°C warming means catastrophic consequences for lots of people today and in the future, but every tenth degree more leads to millions of additional affected people.
of forest areas.
of fluorid greenhouse gases
For example, a speed limit of 100km/h on german motorways would lead to a reduce in emissions of about 6.2 million tons of carbon dioxide – that´s 14% of total carbon dioxide emissions on the motorway and 1% of total german emissions.
Additionally, transformation towards a climate just society leads to other, concrete advantages. For example, less air pollution due to using emission-free modes of transportation and renewable energies can prevent up to 6.5 million premature deaths – every year.
Even though the goal of creating jobs can and should be considered critically, the notion that energy and transport transformation would lead to mass joblessness is baseless since this exact transformation will create millions of new jobs world-wide.
Landrigan P J et al 2018 The Lancet Commission on pollution and health Lancet 391 462–512
Höhne Prof. Dr. Niklas et al 2018 Climate Opportunity Report New Climate Institute
Besides preventing premature deaths, burden of disease – both mental and physical diseases – decreases, wide-spread diseases like arteriosclerosis and heart attacks appear less often and less severe, the health system is reliefed.
A climate just transformation additionally creates the chance to reduce global injustice and distribute wealth as well as power more equally.
Robinson, M., Shine, T. Achieving a climate justice pathway to 1.5 °C. Nature Clim Change 8, 564–569 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0189-7