Report: Earth Has 50% Chance of Breaching 1.5°C Threshold by 2026

    Photo: AP [via NBC News]

    The Facts

    • The world has a 50-50 chance of exceeding an average global temperature of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2026, according to a new UN report released Tuesday.

    • In the 2015 Paris Agreement, governments agreed to try to limit warming to 1.5°C above baseline, with an absolute cap of 2°C. Exceeding 1.5°C could result in potentially irreversible climate tipping points, such as the collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet, the IPCC has warned.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    We have a climate emergency, and this report is yet another wake-up call. We must move away from fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy immediately if we are to be able to stay below 1.5°C. Failure to do so will mean confronting tipping points harmful for the entire Earth much faster than expected.

    Narrative B

    While alarming, accurate long-term predictions are difficult to make, and the numbers here are slightly higher than previous predictions by NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Besides, 1.5°C of warming is only a 20-30 year average, and is by no means irreversible. There's still plenty of time to take action.

    Narrative C

    Climate and environmental disasters have been predicted by modern-day doomsayers for decades. None of the apocalyptic predictions have come true so far; why would this time be any different?

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 25% chance that there will be 3.6°C of global warming by 2100 according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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