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The Earth is getting hotter. The damage is serious

The Earth is getting hotter. The damage is serious

American scientists predict that by 2100 the average temperature of our planet will have increased by 3.2 ° C. According to their estimates, there is only a 5% chance that, as established by the Paris Agreement, the Earth's temperature will not rise more than 2 ° C by the end of the century. How quickly carbon emissions are reduced in different economic activities will be crucial in determining the heat of the future.

The greatest challenge facing the human species in the 21st century is stopping global warming. To this end, less than a year ago the Paris Agreement came into force, a global treaty whose primary objective is to limit the increase in the Earth's temperature by 2 ° C with respect to pre-industrial levels and continue efforts to limit the increase by 1.5 ° C. Now, new research suggests that this goal will be elusive.

A statistical study carried out by scientists from different American universities and institutions reveals that the possibility that the Earth's temperature will only increase 2 ° C or less by the end of the century is 5%, and 1% if the goal is that is kept below 1.5 ° C.

According to the results of the work, published in the magazineNature Climate Change, the most probable thing is that during the next century the temperature of the Earth will increase between 2 ° C and 4.9 ° C.

"Our analysis shows that the 2 ° C goal presents a best-case scenario," said Adrian Raftery, lead author of the research and professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington, adding that meeting the goal of reducing warming "is feasible." in the case of making "an important and sustained effort during the next 80 years".

"In general, the objectives expressed in the Paris Agreement are ambitious but realistic," says the expert, "but the bad news is that it is unlikely that they will be sufficient to keep warming at or below 1.5ºC."

Difficult to reach the Paris goals

Experts have analyzed how emissions would increase by 2100 based on three variables: total world population, per capita gross domestic product and the amount of carbon emissions emitted by each economic activity.

Thus, through statistical estimates of the last 50 years, the researchers conclude that the average temperature of the planet at the end of the century will have risen 3.2 ° C, and that population growth is not the determining factor causing this situation. In addition, they warn that the speed with which carbon dioxide emissions are reduced depending on each economic activity will be crucial to curb the heat of the future.

“It was concluded that the temperature of the Earth should not increase more than 1.5 ° C due to the severe environmental catastrophes that many countries would suffer. If it is exceeded, damage from extreme heat, flooding or rising sea levels will be much more serious, ”explains Dargan Fierson, co-author of the study.

"Our results show that drastic changes are required to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement," concludes the author.

Increased damage from heat, drought, and extreme weather

Another author of the analysis, Dargan Frierson, stressed that "damage caused by heat, drought, extreme weather and sea level rise will be much more serious if the temperature rises more than 2ºC."

One of the big surprises of the study was that the increase in population has a lower than expected impact on climate change, since this growth will occur mainly in Africa, which uses very few fossil fuels.

The main concern is centered on the intensity of carbon emissions, because the rate of decrease of this value will be crucial in determining the future of global warming.

Bibliographic reference:
Adrian Raftery, et al. "Less than 2 ° C warming by 2100 unlikely".Nature Climate Change. (2017)

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