If temperatures won’t go up, bring the so-called ‘target’ down. That’s the latest brainwave of climate fear merchants, seemingly oblivious to the lack of any temperature rise this century.
Former Guardian writer Fred Pearce reports:
Is the world’s target of limiting global warming to 2 °C too high, or too low? Does it even make scientific sense? The consensus around the target, which was agreed at climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009, seems to be coming unstuck.
Back in October, US climate analysts David Victor and Charles Kennel called it scientifically meaningless and politically unachievable. We should get used to the idea of something warmer, they said.
Now the target has been denounced as “utterly inadequate”, by Petra Tschakert of Penn State University in University Park, who has been involved in a UN review of the target. She wants a 1.5 °C target instead. Writing in the journal Climate Change Responses, she says this lower limit is necessary if we want sea levels to rise less than a metre, to protect half of all coral reefs, and to still have some ice during Arctic summers.
Tschakert is not alone. There was a groundswell of support for a revised 1.5 °C target at an expert meeting during the climate conference in Lima, Peru, last December, as part of the UN’s target review. The review is set for publication in June and could be adopted at the Paris climate negotiations this December, where new emissions limits for after 2020 will be agreed.
‘Does it even make scientific sense?’ – Good question.