If we burn too much coal, gas and oil, then mankind could face a future with as much as 4°C of global warming by the end of the century.
That’s the suggestion from one of the 20 US authors of yesterday’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, University of Arizona Department of Geosciences Associate Professor Jessica Tierney, who spoke to ELN about its alarming findings.
She said: “If we are able to reduce our emissions, and relatively quickly, and the report emphasises that it has to be quickly, we can limit global warming to around 1.5°C.”
Asked about whether the future climate could become some kind of hell on Earth, she replied: “It certainly could be for certain places. We have already seen here in the western US where I live these catastrophic wildfires that are forcing people to leave their homes. And we are not even at 1.5°C.
“So there’s no question that climate change is hugely disruptive. But I also want to emphasise that there is still a lot of hope, because we have not yet locked into any single trajectory.”
She added: “Some of the things that are happening right now are irreversible and other things can be reversed. So as an example of the irreversible parts, that would be the ice sheets.”
Listen to the podcast to find out more…