Deadline for climate action: Act strongly before 2035 to keep warming below 2°C

  • If governments don’t act decisively by 2035 to fight climate change, humanity could cross a “point of no return” after which limiting global warming below 2°C in 2100 will be unlikely, according to a new study.
  • The deadline to limit warming to 1.5°C has already passed, unless radical climate action is taken.
  • Major ‘negative emissions’ could buy more time but humanity would only be able to delay the point of no return by 6 to 10 years.

European Geosciences Union  Read full ScienceDaily article here

…[Researchers] wanted to find the ‘point of no return’ or deadline for climate action: the latest possible year to start strongly cutting greenhouse-gas emissions before it’s too late to avoid dangerous climate change….

Using information from climate models, the team determined the deadline for starting climate action to keep global warming likely (with a probability of 67%) below 2°C in 2100, depending on how fast humanity can reduce emissions by using more renewable energy. Assuming we could increase the share of renewable energy by 2% every year, we would have to start doing so before 2035 (the point of no return). If we were to reduce emissions at a faster rate, by increasing the share of renewable energy by 5% each year, we would buy another 10 years.

The researchers caution, however, that even their more modest climate-action scenario is quite ambitious….

Matthias Aengenheyster, Qing Yi Feng, Frederick van der Ploeg, Henk A. Dijkstra. The point of no return for climate action: effects of climate uncertainty and risk tolerance. Earth System Dynamics, 2018; 9 (3): 1085 DOI: 10.5194/esd-9-1085-2018