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1.5 degree target no longer achievable for climate researchers

1.5 degree target no longer achievable for climate researchers
The expert described the extreme weather events such as the floods in Greece as a “bitter confirmation”.
Image: SAKIS MITROLIDIS (AFP)

Ottmar Edenhofer, director of the renowned Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, believes that the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit the average increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees, if possible, is unattainable. “We are running out of time. I assume that we will exceed the 1.5 degree target for at least a few decades,” Edenhofer told the German news magazine “Der Spiegel” at the weekend. “That worries me,” said Edenhofer.

What happens if the temperature rises by more than 1.5 degrees

If the 1.5 degree mark is exceeded, a large proportion of the world’s coral reefs risk dying. In addition, tipping points such as the widespread melting of the Greenland ice sheet could be triggered – which would further accelerate the warming.

According to Edenhofer, temperatures could be reduced below the 1.5 degree mark again in the future. To do this, however, emissions would have to be significantly reduced and masses of carbon would have to be taken back from the atmosphere and put into the ground, said the 62-year-old climate researcher: “What this essentially means is: We have to set up a planetary waste disposal system that takes care of the mess that we create collected again.”

“Now we know: global warming makes you poorer”

Edenhofer described the frequent extreme weather events of the past few weeks, such as the floods in Greece, heat records in Spain and dam failures in Libya, as a “bitter confirmation” and shock: “We have been predicting all of this for years – and now we can feel what it really means in one “To live in a 1.5 degree world.” The economic damage is even greater than previously thought. As early as 2030, up to $420 can be expected for each additional ton of carbon dioxide emitted. At least there is a positive side to this, says Edenhofer: “If we now know for sure that global warming is making us poorer, that also means: climate protection is securing prosperity.”

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