Scientists Warn Paris Agreement 2°C Target Is Too High
August 23, 2018
Over 1.5°C Will Have Devastating Environmental Consequences
ARLINGTON, Va. (Aug. 23, 2018) – In an editorial, Avoiding the Climate Failsafe Point, published today in Science Advances, scientists from Conservation International and the UN Foundation argue that the Paris Agreement target of keeping global average temperatures from rising 2°C is too high and such an increase could have devastating environmental impacts including the loss of coral reefs, species extinction and an increase in wildfires.
“Policy makers have set the target of allowing no more than an increase of 2°C not for any intrinsic reason, but more simply because that level was thought to be achievable,” writes Conservation International Senior Climate Change Scientist Lee Hannah and Tom Lovejoy, Senior Fellow, UN Foundation.
Hannah and Lovejoy argue ecological systems around the planet will not be able to tolerate temperature rise much beyond 1.5°C but point to ecosystem restoration — keeping forests intact and reforesting degraded lands — as part of the solution to help mitigate global warming and reaching a 1.5°C target.
“According to new estimates, the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere that is generated by destruction and degradation of ecosystems turns out to be much larger than previously estimated — focused and purposeful ecosystem restoration could help us keep global temperature rises at 1.5°C.”
The editorial comes at a time when the IPCC is getting ready to launch its special report on global warming and world leaders prepare to convene at the Global Climate Action Summit, the international climate change summit taking place in San Francisco in September.
About Conservation International
Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa”, “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.