Updated modelling by researchers at University of Queensland and Griffith University show that the world will reach the widely feared 2 degrees of warming (above the 19th century temperature) by 2030; about twenty years earlier than had been previously thought.
Despite some governments regarding two degrees of warming as a performance target, climate scientists regard it as the point where various feedback mechanisms – such as massive methane release due to melting in the Arctic – create runaway global warming. Indeed, the recent COP21 conference in Paris arrived at a consensus that governments should introduce policies to limit warming to just 1.5 degrees. Unfortunately, according to the University of Queensland and Griffith University paper, on current trends we will pass 1.5 degrees by 2020 – long before governments have even begun to introduce policies to curb further warming.
The researchers conclude that only a massive and rapid shift away from burning fossil carbon to widespread use of renewables can deliver the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining the global economic growth rates necessary to raise people out of poverty.