Deadline for climate action – Act strongly before 2035 to keep warming below 2°C


Making Sugar
Feb 24, 2016
If governments don’t act decisively by 2035 to fight climate change, humanity could cross a point of no return after which limiting global warming below 2°C in 2100 will be unlikely, according to a new study by scientists in the UK and the Netherlands. The research also shows the deadline to limit warming to 1.5°C has already passed, unless radical climate action is taken. The study is published today in the European Geosciences Union journal Earth System Dynamics.

“In our study we show that there are strict deadlines for taking climate action,” says Henk Dijkstra, a professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and one of the study authors. “We conclude that very little time is left before the Paris targets [to limit global warming to 1.5°C or 2°C] become infeasible even given drastic emission reduction strategies.”

Dijkstra and his colleagues at the Utrecht Centre for Complex Systems Studies and at Oxford University, UK, wanted to find the ‘point of no return’ or deadline for climate action: the latest possible year to start strongly cutting greenhouse-gas emissions before it’s too late to avoid dangerous climate change. “The ‘point of no return’ concept has the advantage of containing time information, which we consider very useful to inform the debate on the urgency of taking climate action,” says Matthias Aengenheyster, a doctoral researcher at Oxford University and the study’s lead author.

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