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Differential climate impacts for policy-relevant limits to global warming: the case of 1.5 ◦C and 2 ◦C

21/04/2016 | Earth System Dynamics

Robust appraisals of climate impacts at different levels of global-mean temperature increase are vital to guide assessments of dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The 2015 Paris Agreement includes a two-headed temperature goal: “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”. Despite the prominence of these two temperature limits, a comprehensive overview of the differences in climate impacts at these levels is still missing. Here we provide an assessment of key impacts of climate change at warming levels of 1.5 ◦C and 2 ◦C, including extreme weather events, water availability, agricultural yields, sea-level rise and risk of coral reef loss.

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