The media are full of reports about the ominous temperature of 1.5°C. Why is this like that? An explanation in simple terms.
The 1.5 degree target or limit denotes a threshold at which the consequences of climate change can still be reasonably managed. If this limit is exceeded, this will have serious unforeseeable and irreversible consequences for large parts of mankind. These severe consequences are e.g. long-lasting droughts, heat extremes, heavy rain events or floods. How such events look like is not only shown by the flood disaster in the Ahr valley, but also by the current heat wave in India and Pakistan with temperatures of 50°C.
The choice of 1.5°C is not an arbitrarily chosen temperature, but this goes back to a special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which lists the benefits that compliance with this limit would mean. This temperature refers to the average temperature from before industrialization, which occurred in the years 1850-1900. This is referred to as man-made climate change.
Why is the emphasis on “man-made” important? Quite simply, if it has been caused by humans, humans can also counteract it. There are now many, many studies from the scientific community that can prove that human actions have caused the climate to change.
Now the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has published a report that says the average global temperature could reach the 1.5-degree mark for the first time as early as 2026. That’s four years from now.
Some scientists speak of a “tipping point” at which our ecosystem changes so much that irreversible effects occur. These include, for example, rising sea levels and the melting of large glaciers.
It is emphasized that exceeding the 1.5-degree limit once is not the same as exceeding it permanently. This report is a reminder to all of us, but especially to politicians and industry, that action must finally be taken. Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced now. And in a clearly noticeable amount. The climate is not waiting for politicians to finish their discussions.
By the way: Germany has already used up all its resources on May 04. At least theoretically, because this is indicated by Earth Overload Day, which is a day of action by the Global Footprint Network organization. This is to point out that we consume more resources than our earth can provide us humans.