One Minute On:  #3 – Global Warming and 1.5oC

Published On: 14 December 2022Categories: Insights, One Minute On

Our planet is getting hotter.  Human-induced global warming has reached 1.1oC above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900).  Unless carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are significantly reduced in the coming decades,  temperature rises of up to 3.2oC will be reached by the end of the century, threatening the well-being of people and the planet.


What causes global warming?

The Earth is warmed by the Sun.  Its energy enters the atmosphere as light rays.  Some of it warms the planet and then is re-radiated back into space.   Normally some infrared radiation is trapped by the atmosphere, a thin layer surrounding the Earth, helping to keep the temperature at a comfortable level.   The layer is getting thicker due to the interactions with human caused GHG, particularly CO2, trapping more infrared radiation, and causing the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to increase.  Global warming.


Why 1.5oC?

In 2015, the Paris Agreement was signed by 196 countries.  The central aim includes pursuing efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5oC.   1.5oC is an indicator of the points at which climate impacts will become increasingly harmful for people and the entire planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change.  Every 6 to 7 years, it produces a report on progress against that goal.  Its assessments provide governments with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies.  The Sixth Assessment Report was released in 2021-2.

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