New research suggests that the Paris climate accord’s failure may be imminent and that President Donald Trump’s move to pull out from the agreement may be a contributing factor to it.
A series of three papers published in the journal Nature Climate Change took a look at different variables — carbon use, population, and economic growth forecasts — in 150 countries, and based on the findings, there is only a 5 percent chance that global temperatures may be within two degrees above pre-industrial age levels, as pledged on the Paris climate accord.
The agreement’s failure, according to the HuffPost, can be prevented by the increased use of renewable energy or other “breakthrough technologies,” but University of Washington statistics professor and study lead author Adrian Raftery stressed that the world is closer to the two-degree threshold than what most people may think, despite the fact that the Paris agreement was sealed little more than a year and a half ago.
“If we want to avoid 2 degrees Celsius, we have very little time left. The public should be very concerned.”
As for the tougher 1.5 degrees Celsius goal set as part of the Paris climate accord, Raftery and his colleagues believe that there’s a mere 1 percent chance of that goal being set.
With such a good chance of the Paris climate accord failing to meet its goals, the researchers believe that the most likely possibility is a global temperature rise of two to 4.9 degrees Celsius, with the median at 3.2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
As noted by Vox shortly after President Trump announced that the U.S. will be pulling out of the Paris climate accord, the chance of failure has already been brought up by critics of the agreement. The two-degree threshold had previously been described as being too low to have any noticeable impact, but as the report added, two degrees was cited as a “starting point,” with the world already on track “to wildly miss” before the agreement was signed.
A separate report from the same publication noted that several members of the Trump administration are connected to the fossil fuel space — climate science experts have long warned about fossil fuels, including carbon, being a main contributor to climate change.
Should world temperatures rise by more than two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by 2100, this would mean greater chances of higher sea levels, more erratic weather patterns and events, shortages of food and water, and an “overall more hostile world.”
Although the study did bring up some dire forecasts for the future, experts believe that it’s still too early to give up. As mentioned, there are “breakthrough technologies” in renewable energy that people could switch to; these factors notably weren’t included when Raftery and his team conducted their statistical research. But in the meantime, Raftery hopes that the findings will serve as a reminder that people should “act immediately” in order to prevent the Paris climate accord from failing.
Interestingly, the researchers also didn’t skew their projections based on Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement. But in an interview with Wired, study co-author Dick Startz cautioned that it will be hard for the president to “make money on real estate that’s under the ocean,” making reference to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Resort in Florida, and the possibility that some parts of Florida may be submerged by 2100 if sea levels continue to rise at their current pace.
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