Every degree of global warming matters. Check out this infographic below:
Paris Agreement’s +2 °C is unlikely to be respected
Even people who believe in climate change have many preconceptions. They may think that either we save ourselves or we’re doomed, while the reality is that we’re set for a whole range of warming possibilities, and none of them look good. 2 degrees of global warming since preindustrial times seem little, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it isn’t, and that’s why 195 country representatives from all over the world signed the Paris Agreement, to avoid disaster. On that day, 2 degrees was considered the maximum warming tolerable.
Still, reality today shows that that target is optimistic and will probably be surpassed. Even if all countries respect the Agreement, which almost none are, we are set for 3.2-degree warming. In fact, when the planet warms, cascade effects such as wildfires releasing CO2, permafrost methane exhaustion, ice melt, and many other compound the adverse effects. Take air conditioning, a man-made cascade effect: the more intolerable the summers, the more we warm the world by installing and using A.C. units.
Every Degree of Global Warming Matters
Furthermore, there is a vast difference between every degree of global warming. 1, 2, 3, 4 degrees all seem similar, but they aren’t. In fact, even half a degree sets intolerable changes: “limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared with 2°C, could reduce the number of people both exposed to climate-related risks and susceptible to poverty by up to several hundred million by 2050”, writes the IPCC, a U.N. body (read here). Several hundred million people. Let that sink in. Today, we’re looking at 7 million air-pollution deaths per year already, according to the WHO (read here). We are genuinely facing genocide, perpetrated by the victims themselves.
India will be one of the hardest-hit countries. With only +2 degrees of warming, which is the best-case scenario, extreme heatwaves in India will hit 32 times as much as today, and each will last 5 times as long. Summer heatwaves will kill thousands of people in the northern latitudes as well. But it’s only a matter of time before the full-forced adverse effects seen today near the equator reach Northern countries. At +3 degrees, the average drought in Northern Africa will last more than 5 years, and Southern Europe will be in a permanent drought. At +4, we’re looking at a doomsday world, with all of Asia south of Siberia unlivable because of heat and close to annual global food crises.
Remember, every degree matters. While you can’t stop climate change, contribute to limiting it now.
Data was found reading The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. Order it here.