The climate goals are measured in degrees Celsius above average temperature levels of the planet before the Industrial Revolution (approximately since 1850). Why before the Industrial Revolution? Because it was then that we began to use coal and petroleum on a large scale to generate energy. But when combusted, oil and coal generate pollution. This is a main (but not the only) culprit for the warming of the planet.
We are at an urgent point in time as we now know the size of the threat to the prosperity and existence of nations that an increase above this limit represents. Temperature changes may sound minimal, but the heating 0.75-0.85 degrees Celsius, has already resulted in the doubling of extremely hot days and nights in many countries, as well as unprecedented storms, floods, droughts, food crises, melting of the ice layer and permafrost. In addition to rising sea levels and submersion of large areas of land – some countries have lost islands and had to rescue its inhabitants. Surpassing 1.5oC will bring significant risks to the survival of island nations such as Kiribati, Maldives and Tuvalu, to coastal regions such as the Mekong Delta, Florida and Southern Bangladesh and coastal cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.
The last ten record temperatures happened in this century. Last year was the hottest year since record keeping began and it seems that in 2016, we will have a new record. If we continue on this path, we will confront ever more challenging problems of water supply and food production, in addition to the greater dissemination of epidemics spread by mosquitos such as Zika.
That is why 1.5o C is the record we must not break. It is achievable.
We need ZERO net emissions of greenhouse gases by mid-century.
Science indicates that by 2050 it requires a 70-95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 2010 levels.
To keep global warming below 1.5°C, significantly greater reductions of greenhouse gas emissions must take place between 2030 and 2050. In practice this means more investments, but also more jobs and opportunities in the short term – and more health and quality of life in the long run. For investors, the largest investments in the short term will be paid off by the reduction of impacts from climate change.
The whole world has begun to move in this direction: in several countries consumption of coal – that is the fuel that pollutes the air – is falling. Renewable energy is increasingly popular in Europe, North America, Asia and Brazil. What we need now is to walk faster. Or even better: run
ATHLETES CALL FOR 1.5oC.
1.5°C also appeals to those who participate in the biggest sporting event on the planet. The athletes, based on their own experience, have great legitimacy to talk about the challenges and benefits of lifting up increasingly ambitious goals.
But while they will strive to break many sports records, athletes from around the world are uniting to ask that the 1.5°C record is not broken.
Join the campaign ‘1.5°C the record we must not break’ by posting a photo with 1.5C written on the palm of your hand, using the hashtag #1o5C and send a message to governments, businesses and people around the world, alerting for the need to work together to keep warming to a minimum that will increase the chances of survival and prosperity of all.