The Paris Accord’s overriding goal is to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100. And if possible, the accord would like to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” To do that, countries like the U.S. would have to dramatically reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and still remain competitive.
Modern temperature record keeping essentially starts in 1880 (with the advent of thermometers). And since that time, global temperatures have climbed by roughly 0.7 degrees Celsius. Therefore, in order to stay within the two degree Celsius warming target, global temperatures can’t climb by more than another 1.3 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Some great news then: Global climate is already on track to stay under the 2-degree mark.
Extrapolated from now through 2100, this translates to future warming of 1.12 degrees Celsius over the next 83 years. And so, added to the 0.7 degrees observed since 1880, this totals 1.82 degrees Celsius from 1880-2100.
So, congratulations to Planet Earth. By simply doing nothing from now on, global climate temperatures will meet the goals of the Paris Accord.
That means all the massive decarbonization plans—that would hurt millions of working class Americans, and forfeit the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the developing world—are simply unnecessary.
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