As the growing size of pit stains will show, the world is getting a lot warmer. And fast.
So fast, that the 1.5 °C tipping point for global warming—which is literally the first thing agreed upon in the Paris Agreement set just eight months ago at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference—is close to being broken.
The 1.5 °C limit that was agreed upon was considered a minor victory of the Paris talks, which largely consisted of politicians showing their adeptness with platitudes before going back to snuggle in the loving arms of big businesses.
Specifically, the Paris Agreement states that: “This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention, including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:
(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change… ”
Scientists claimed that the target could significantly reduce the possibility of calamitous climate events occurring, such as desertification, heatwaves, and flooding.
But alas. You may have heard of—or have been dehydrated into a prune by—the freak streak of record-breaking temperatures in the past year, which caused temperatures to be comfortably 1 °C above pre-industrial levels, peaking with 1.38 °C for February and March.
Speaking to The Guardian, Ben Sanderson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado said that “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 1.5 °C might just be achieved.”
The master of understatement added, “That is a tall order, however.”
The only available solution now, according to some scientists, is to limit emissions as much as possible to keep temperatures around the 1.5 °C region, and hope that some batsh*t crazy mega geoengineering project can result in negative emissions—i.e., the active extraction of carbon dioxide from the air.
Sometimes, Mad Max: Fury Road seems like a documentary from the future, since the world already has its own Immortan Joe in the making.