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Just 1.5 °C of Global Warming May Be Achievable After All

September 19, 2017

We may yet be able to meet the most ambitious of goals from the Paris climate pact. A new study published in Nature Geoscience claims that we have overestimated the planet's warming to date. Newly updated models that form part of the research suggest that humanity could actually emit three times more carbon than the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change currently suggests and yet still meet the ambitious 1.5 °C warming target of the Paris climate pact. That figure has often been considered to be practically unattainable.

As Nature notes, not all scientists are convinced by the study, with some researchers claiming that its analysis of a period of slower warming around the year 2000 is flawed. But Richard Millar, lead researcher of the new study, argues that even discounting the controversial parts of the analysis, his team's results still show that larger amounts of carbon dioxide than previously thought can be emitted before we hit 1.5 °C of temperature rise.

And even a little breathing room could make the climate fight easier: as we’ve reported before, tight climate deadlines make for huge CO2 capture costs.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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