Zero In – CONSTRAIN study show green recovery could cut the rate of temperature rise by up to half
With global temperatures now almost 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C in line with the Paris Agreement means taking urgent and decisive global action. A new report shows that slowing down global warming can be combined with tackling the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 and that a green recovery could cut the rate of temperature rise by up to half. Where are we are in terms of the Paris Agreement Long-Term Temperature Goal (LTTG)?
The Paris Agreement reflects global, human-induced long-term temperature change that excludes the short-term natural variability in the climate system. Exceeding 1.5°C warming during one or more years as the result of year-to-year variability therefore does not mean that the Paris Agreement LTTG has been reached or exceeded. Measuring where we are now with respect to the LTTG means using the same approach that was used to set it, following the best available science at the time, as set out in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).
This includes looking forward from a modern reference period (1986-2005), and so scientific advances in establishing how temperatures changed before this time will not affect our trajectory towards the 1.5°C limit. Overall, reaching or exceeding 1.5°C warming in a single year, month or location does not mean that the LTTG has been breached, as long as human-induced warming still falls below 1.5°C. It is unlikely that human-induced warming will reach 1.5°C above pre- industrial levels in the next decade.
Integrating hard and fast climate action with Covid economic recovery packages could, over the next 20 years, slow down human-induced global warming by up to half the rate we have experienced since 2000, giving us vital time and space to adapt to future climate impacts. This “strong green recovery”, investing just 1.2% of GDP in green technologies and industries, whilst refusing to bail out fossil fuel companies, could also cut the total amount of warming by 2050, putting us back on track to stay within the LTTG’s 1.5°C limit. Such a green recovery is urgently needed as the carbon budget continues to be depleted despite a record fall in annual CO₂ emissions from 2019 to 2020. The report assess the remaining carbon budget for staying below 1.5°C to be 355 Gt CO₂ (50% probability).
Compiled by Reinhold Pape
CONSTRAIN hosted a Special Event at the 2020 UNFCCC Climate Dialogues: