The study also contains a few other morsels of good news. It points out that the hypothetical damage caused by America’s withdrawal from the agreement, which it takes into account, is lower than expected. It also indicates that China and the European Union’s efforts to invest in clean energy is, and will, pay dividends.
“Our analysis suggests that pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C is not chasing a geophysical impossibility,” the authors conclude. However, they explain that it won’t be easy.
“[This] is likely to require a significant strengthening of the National Determined Contributions [to Paris] at the first opportunity in 2020” in order to prepare for the risk that the planet’s warming may jump up quickly after all. They also suggest that the world needs to “hedge against the risks of… economic, technical or political impediments.”
One huge additional caveat is necessary here: This is just one study, and science is an emergent truth decided by consensus. If this study is wrong and the others were right, it means that, at present, the world has fewer than five years to drastically cut its GHGs before the 1.5°C limit is breached.
Either way, it’s best not to be complacent. Act now or die – that’s the harsh reality of climate change, which one French environmental minister described as a future “serial killer”.