Study warns global warming on track to cross 2C – RTE.ie
Global warming is on track to cross 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages in the next decade, which will happen regardless of how much greenhouse gas emissions rise or fall over the next ten years, according to a study.
The study, published by researchers from Stanford and Colorado State University, found that the Earth is on track to exceed 2C warming, which international scientist identified as a tipping point, with a 50% chance that grave benchmark would be met by mid-century.
The new ‘Time to Threshold’ estimate results come from an analysis that used artificial intelligence to predict climate change using recent temperature observations from around the world.
Director of the ICARUS Climate Research Centre at Maynooth University Professor Peter Thorne said the research should be taken seriously, but added that it is just a single study.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said it is “consistent” with previous research on the 1.5C warming, but diverges somewhat more on 2C warming, an area that will need to be examined further.
Prof Thorne said that while the temperature increases are “linear”, the effects are not.
“They will get much worse at 1.5C…than the 1.1C we have today, and they will get much, much, much worse at 2 degrees centigrade.”
He said it is very important that people are fully aware that “it will get worse very quickly. The more we push the climate system.”
Prof Thorne said however that “it’s never really too late to take action on climate change. In regards to mitigating against even worse outcomes, we need to get serious about it and we need to get serious about it now.”
He added that “we need to absolutely up our ambition. The Working Group Three report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes very, very clear that it is technically feasible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 50% by 2030, which would put us on course to likely keep warming below 2 degrees centigrade, but current pledges and more importantly, current action is nowhere near meeting that.”
He said the use of AI to reach this prediction in the new research is “an interesting approach”.
“I think it’s too early to say whether it could be a game changer, but certainly what it does do is bring the benefit of looking at it in in yet another different way.
“And the fact that the results broadly line up with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, particularly on 1.5 is heartening in terms of increasing our confidence in the reality of the fact that we will cross 1.5 at some point in the next decade, almost irrespective of our choices.”
Prof Thorne said that it is not quite clear why this new research is so pessimistic around the 2C, and it will take time to work that through.
He cautioned people to “be aware the single study syndrome”.
“The IPCC looked at many hundreds of studies to come to its careful deliberations, which did point to the fact that early action and aggressive action on mitigation can keep us below 2 degrees, but it is very aggressive and very early action, far more than we have thus far either nationally or globally.”