What would it take to really tackle climate change? No delays, no gimmicks, no loopholes, no shirking of responsibility — the real thing. What would it look like?
To answer that question, it helps to understand the upper threshold of climate ambition. The target agreed upon by the world’s nations in Paris in 2015 is global warming of “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, with good-faith efforts to hold temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
Countries are not moving anywhere near fast enough to hit those targets, so we are currently on track for somewhere around 3 degrees. It is generally agreed that hitting 2 degrees would be quite ambitious, while hitting 1.5 would be nothing short of miraculous. Yet the scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in their latest report, are pleading with the world to go for it, because at this point, every fraction of a degree of warming matters.
This is what planetary deferred maintenance looks like.