Climate target already in doubt

A global warming limit agreed by world leaders with great fanfare has come close to being broken just eight months on, it is reported.

Climate change scientists have warned it may be nearly impossible to keep global warming below the 1.5C target set at the Paris negotiations in December after temperatures peaked at 1.38C above pre-industrial levels in February and March.

Met Office data analysed by Reading University professor Ed Hawkins showed average global temperatures were more than 1C over for every month except one over the past year, the Observer newspaper in Britain reports.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due to meet in Geneva this month to outline how the Paris deal, which slashed the limit from 2C to 1.5C, will be implemented.

However co-chair of the IPCC working group on adaptation to climate change, Stanford University Professor Chris Field, told the newspaper staying below 1.5C looked “impossible or at the very least, a very, very difficult task”.

Targets for bringing an end to the use of coal-powered stations and the combustion engine are reported to be on the agenda in Geneva.

Dr Ben Sanderson, of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, suggested that it would take a global effort with such measures on an unprecedented scale to keep the target — a “tall order”.

“If the world puts all its resources into finding ways to generate power without burning fossil fuels, and if there were international agreements that action must happen instantly, and if carbon emissions were brought down to zero before 2050, then a rise of no more than 1.5C might just be achieved,” Dr Sanderson said.

Professor Jim Skea, a member of the UK government’s committee on climate change, said “negative emission technology” would have to play a part by actively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

So-called “carbon capture” techniques include extracting the gas from the air, liquefying it and storing it underground.


Lifestyle

As UK legend John Surman gets ready to play at Cork’s jazz fest, he tells Philip Watson about his well-travelled career and why he’s so angry about Brexit.Jazz legend John Surman on a well travelled career and why he's angry about Brexit

Dr Naomi Lavelle answers a weekly science question.Fish live in water all their lives but does that mean that they never get thirsty or do they even drink at all? To answer these questions we need to look at where the fish live.Appliance of Science: Do fish ever get thirsty?

More From The Irish Examiner