We have been warned: There are now only 12 years left for us to stop global warming in its tracks.
And if we aren’t able to keep the warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees since pre-industrial times — we have already hit one degree — we could expect a horror show of extreme heat‚ more disastrous events like floods and droughts‚ and an ecology so out of sorts that daily life could become unbearable.
While an extra half a degree over that limit of 1.5 degrees might seem insignificant‚ a shocking landmark report just released by the United Nations has taken the world by storm‚ showing how hitting a 2 degree rise would spell doom.
At the Paris Agreement in 2015‚ 2 degrees was set as the ceiling we should aim to stay under‚ but that has now shifted to 1.5 degrees.
The consequences of hitting a 2 degree rise include:
- days of extreme heat and heat-related deaths would become much more common;
- hundreds of millions more people would become food insecure at a 2 degree mark compared to a 1.5 degree mark;
- 50% more people across the world would be water-stressed at the 2 degree mark; and
- that difference of half a degree would also mean plant and insects are twice as likely to lose 50% of their habitats.
Prepared by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‚ the report says that “urgent and unprecedented” changes are needed to reach the target. It says that risk warnings in earlier reports underestimated damage already done as well as how quickly we are moving towards disaster.