In-Depth

Paris Summit 2015: tackling climate change

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Paris hosted the >U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change conference , raising expectations that the participation of nearly 150 Presidents, Prime Ministers and heads of state in a leadership event will bring about a good agreement.

The historical >Paris climate pact was adopted , this puts world on green path.

Read: the >full text of the Paris Agreement.



Road to curb temperature rises

The goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, COP21, is to achieve a legally binding, international agreement to keep average global temperatures no more than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures*

Global mean temperatures above pre-industrial levels

  • 1850-1900
    Average temperature 13.7°C
  • 1.0°C
    Temperature rise expected to surpass 1°C in 2015
  • 2.7°C
    Forecast warming† by 2100 even if all COP21 pledges are implemented
  • 4-5°C
    Forecast rise by 2060 if current emissions levels continue
  • 2.0°C
    2010: 193 nations sign Cancun Agreements committing governments to “hold increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”
  • 3-5°C
    Warming on existing emissions-reduction policies. Low-lying island states at risk from rising sea levels

*Accurate assessment of temperatures in 1750s – when industrial revolution began – is difficult. To overcome problem, climatologists use average temperatures recorded between 1850 and 1900. †United Nations Synthesis report on aggregate effect of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

Sources: UK Met. Office Hadley Centre, Climate Action Tracker, WMO - © GRAPHIC NEWS



What is causing this global warming? There is an established link between the rising levels of Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and rising global temperatures. Here are two graphs that show the correlation between the two:

The first graph show the increase in concentration of CO 2 in the earth's atmosphere between March 1958 and November 2015.

Data Source: Measured by Earth System Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S.

The second graph shows the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures.

Data source: NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

In a bid to achieve the goal to curb temperature rise, nations have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UNFCCC.

Pledges from 148 countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 are insufficient to limit global warming to 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Here is a look at the INDCs of some of the major emitters.

But will it be too late? The effects of climate change are already being felt in all corners of the globe. From melting Arctic ice to increasing forest fires in the tropics. Freak weather phenomenons such as El Nino are changing weather patterns and upsetting traditional cycles of agriculture and ways of life. Here are some pictures that tell this story:

Here is an interactive map that locates the areas that are already feeling the effect of climate change on their physical, biological and human-established systems:

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:18:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/specials/in-depth/paris-summit-2015-tackling-climate-change/article7932769.ece

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