Climate Change

Too Late For Paris

Written by SK Ashby

The Paris Climate Agreement originally agreed to by the Obama administration in 2016 set a goal of limiting global warming from climate change to +1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), but we're already dangerously close to crossing that threshold.

Scientists at the World Meteorological Organization say there's a relatively high chance that we will surpass 1.5 degrees of warming at some point in the next five years.

From the Associated Press:

For this year, the meteorologists say large parts of land in the Northern Hemisphere will be 1.4 degrees (0.8 degrees Celsius) warmer than recent decades and that the U.S. Southwest’s drought will continue.

The 2015 Paris climate accord set a goal of keeping warming to a few tenths of a degree warmer from now. The report said there is a 40% chance that at least one of the next five years will be 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than pre-industrial times — the more stringent of two Paris goals. The world is already 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial times.

Last year, the same group forecasted a 20% chance of it happening.

The doubling of the odds is due to improvements in technology that show it has “actually warmed more than we thought already,” especially over the lightly-monitored polar regions, said Leon Hermanson, a climate scientist at the United Kingdom’s Met Center who helped on the forecast.

A 40 percent that we'll cross this threshold by 2025 does not necessarily guarantee that we will, of course, but I think the larger point is that it's going to happen sooner rather than later. If the Northern Hemisphere is actually 1.4 degrees warmer this year, then half the world already nearly there.

I believe we were always going to see at least this much warming because it's already baked in, but it certainly didn't help that Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Paris agreement and spent four years enabling polluters as much as his government possibly could. That four year window of missed opportunities to fight climate change put our goals further out of reach and baked in more irreversible change.

Every year we lose at this point is a year we won't get back. Another Republican presidential term or two could literally doom the planet. That's the long term consequences of our fleeting electoral politics of Republicans only focusing on the next gimmick they're going to use to retake power and do nothing with it.