Photo: © Narmeen Arshad /

UN Chief: “1.5°C limit still possible, but not for long ”

The IPCC fifth assessment report that was finalised last year clearly stated that there is still a window to limit temperature rise to the 1.5°C target agreed in Paris in 2015. The UN Secretary General said in spring 2024 that “the 1.5°C limit is still possible, but not for long”, urging clear, ambitious emission reduction targets.

An opinion piece in Scientific American discusses how people are likely to react in this critical situation. Amy Martin reports that people already suffering from climate change are calling on the UN to hold global temperature rise to 1.5°C, even if we overshoot that threshold temporarily. She asks the question: what would you do if you accidentally started a fire in your neighbourhood that threatened your neighbour’s house?

There is naturally only one course of action: you would try to put it out. You would grab buckets and hoses and try to extinguish the flames as quickly as possible, as long as there is the slightest chance of doing so.

You wouldn’t just stand on your doorstep and watch the fire spread, and you certainly wouldn’t try to persuade your neighbours that the damage won’t be all that bad or tell them there’s no point in trying to put the fire out.

UN Secretary-General Press release 23 April 2024
Amy Martin's opinion piece:



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