Updated October 30th, 2021 at 16:29 IST

COP26 Climate Summit: Experts warn leaders 1.5C is 'real science', not a political number

Just days before the COP26 climate summit, experts warned that 1.5C target was not like other political negotiations which can be haggled over or compromised.

Reported by: Bhavya Sukheja
COP26 climate summit
IMAGE: UNSPLASH | Image:self

Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, leading climate scientists warned that the 1.5C temperature limit that will be discussed by world leaders at the climate conference this weekend is a vital physical threshold for the planet’s climate and not an arbitrary political construct that can be haggled over. Global leaders are set to meet in Rome and Glasgow over the next four days to agree on a common approach aimed at holding global temperatures rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. However, some nations are unwilling to peg their emission plans to tougher goals as it would require urgent efforts. 

Now, just days before that the UN climate conference, Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the world’s foremost climate scientists, warned that the 1.5C target was not like other political negotiations which can be haggled over or compromised. While speaking to The Guardian, Johan said that a rise of 1.5C is not an arbitrary number and is not a political number. “Every fraction of a degree is dangerous,” he added. 

The climate expert explained that allowing temperatures to rise more than 1.5C would vastly increase the risk of irreversible changes to the climate. For instance, Johan said that it would raise the risk of the Arctic losing its summer ice. He said that the Greenland ice sheet, the melting of which would raise sea level, could also be tipped into a state of irreversible decline.

Further, while speaking about the consequence, Johan went on to say that the rise of more than 1.5C would also threaten changes to the Gulf Stream, which could become irreversible. It could result in catastrophe for biodiversity hotspots, damage agriculture across swathes of the globe and could also inundate small islands and low-lying coastal areas, the climate expert warned. Johan said that this is “real science” and now the climate experts can say that with a “high degree of confidence”. He added that staying within 1.5C is achievable and is absolutely what the world leader should be going for. 

COP26 Climate Summit

Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, will take place from October 31 to November 12, 2021, in the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, UK. Besides PM Modi, the Summit will have in attendance the President of the United States Joe Biden, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, France President Emmanuel Macron among others. The world leaders at the summit are going to discuss the various ways to collaborate and tackle the pressing issue of climate change. 




Published October 30th, 2021 at 16:29 IST

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