After attending a 2016 public lecture at Lab-14 co-hosted by the Australian-German Climate and Energy College, the Climate Institute and the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, I mused [pessimistically] that 1.5 or 2 degrees no longer seemed a choice.

The IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C has just been released today.

In essence, zero net emissions by mid-century is required… [can you hear the crickets?] I await the thoughtful and reasoned, complex and nuanced responses from our elected representatives.


Limiting warming to 1.5oC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” –  Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.


Human activities are currently emitting about 42bn tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, and at that rate the carbon budget – allowing us a 50-50 chance of keeping warming to 1.5C – would be exhausted within 20 years.

Even 1.5C of warming would have brutal consequences, according to the report. Poor people, in particular, would suffer as the threat of food and water shortages increase in some parts of the world.

But the report makes clear that allowing warming to reach 2C would create risks that any reasonable person would regard as deeply dangerous.

– Nicholas Stern

Consider the Spiral from 2016. What do you think has changed?

What needs to change?


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