Barring some incredible new carbon capture technology, the window for limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius appears to have closed. That’s the stark conclusion of a report out in Nature today, which finds that the carbon reductions pledges penned into the Paris Agreement are ridiculously inadequate for keeping our climate within a safe and stable boundary.
The Paris Agreement—a historic piece of climate change policy adopted by leaders of 195 countries last December—pledged to limit human-caused global warming to less than two degrees Celsius, with a “stretch goal” of keeping our planet’s thermostat from rising more than 1.5 degrees. We’re supposed to do that by aggressively cutting back on fossil fuels and switching entirely to renewable energy sources by the end of the century.
But as climate scientists and well-informed politicians have been saying for months, global carbon emissions are way off track if we want to meet even the 2 degree goal. Just how off track is the subject of the new analysis, led by Joeri Rogelj at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.