photo: Steve Lav/Creative Commons
A growing number of climate change scientists and activists have been saying, keeping global average temperature rise to 2°Cis just not enough to avoid some pretty catastrophic changes in climate. Backing that up is a new study examining the geological record from the Last Interglacial, 125,000 years ago, published in the Journal of Quaternary Science.
Warming Similar 21st Century Projections Resulted in Near Meter Sea Level Rise Per Decade
Scientists from the University of Exeter reconstructed temperatures during the Last Interglacial and found that at the time the world was 1.9°C warmer than during pre-industrial times, with the polar regions being more than 5°C warmer and equatorial regions warming less. These conditions are comparable to projections for the end of the 21st century under low-emissions growth scenarios.
During the time period examined, "warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea level rises some 6.6 to 9.4 meters higher than today, with a rate of rise of between 60 to 90 centimeters per decade--more than double that recently observed." (Science Daily)
We're Going to Have to Set Lower Emission Targets
Report co-author Professor Chris Tunley says:
The results here are quite startling and, importantly, they suggest sea levels will rise significantly higher than anticipated and that stabilizing global average temperatures at 2°C above pre-industrial levels may not be considered a 'safe' target as envisaged by the European Union and others.
The "inevitable conclusion" of all this, Turnely also notes, is that emission targets will have be further lowered.
At least based on what little movement we've seen so far in the past year on reaching any sort of global political consensus of climate action, this is going to be a hard sell.
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