Limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius will not prevent destructive and deadly climate impacts, as once hoped, dozens of experts concluded in a score of scientific studies released Monday.
A world that heats up by 2C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) long regarded as the temperature ceiling for a climate-safe planet — could see mass displacement due to rising seas, a drop in per capita income, regional shortages of food and fresh water, and the loss of animal and plant species at an accelerated speed.
Poor and emerging countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America will get hit hardest, according to the studies in the British Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions A.
“We are detecting large changes in climate impacts for a 2C world, and so should take steps to avoid this,” said lead editor Dann Mitchell, an assistant professor at the University of Bristol.
The 197-nation Paris climate treaty, inked in 2015, vows to halt warming at “well under” 2C compared to mid-19th century levels, and “pursue efforts” to cap the rise at 1.5C.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said climate change was “the most systemic threat to humankind”.