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Cut Average Global Warming Target to 1.5ºC, Geographer Urges

The world’s leaders must reduce their target for stabilizing average global warming from 2.0ºC to 1.5º, stated Pennsylvania State University geographer Petra Tschakert, in a paper published late last month in the journal Climate Change Responses.

Even if average warming is held to 2.0º, “more than half the world’s coral reefs will disappear, small island states will be submerged, and many indigenous social systems may collapse,” SciDevNet reports. “Furthermore, the threshold represents a global average, with some areas seeing much higher impacts. Africa would bake as temperatures rise across the continent by more than three degrees.”

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While she acknowledged emissions will likely surpass the 2.0º threshold, Tschakert said the fight for 1.5º is an opportunity to address global inequality “through the back door” of compensation for developing countries.