Two scientists have warned that a failure to limit the global temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures could trigger a tipping point and lead to a collapse of life on earth.
The warning, as reported by The Independent, was given during the opening of the Innovation Zero Congress in London this week by Professor Johan Rockstrom and Professor David King.
The planet has already warmed by 1.2C and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned that a 1.5C temperature could be recorded within the next five years.
Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that, if current climate policies are followed the earth could face a 2.5C to 2.7 temperature by the year 2100, something that has been described as a ‘disaster’ by Professor Rockstrom.
“It’s something that humanity has absolutely no evidence that we can cope with. It would actually exceed the warmest temperature on earth over the past 4 million years.
“Push ourselves to 2.5C, we’re in unknown terrain. It would lead to a complete melting of the big ice sheets, which would be a 10metre sea level rise,” he said.
Even a rise beyond 1.5C is unknown territory, according to Professor Rockstrom, who stated it would be likely to trigger five tipping points, in turn leading the Earth to heat uncontrollably towards disaster.
“The big fear that we have in science is when you cause a tipping point, when the system goes from self-cooling to self-warming.
“Today we’re the ones causing the warming but the nightmare is of course, the moment the planet itself starts causing the warming and that’s what we, under all circumstances, have to avoid.”
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