Human-Caused Warming to Surpass Paris Agreement Limit by 2037, Analysis Finds

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Yves here. Yet another data point indicating that global warming is proceeding ahead of schedule. Ugh.

On the one hand, decision-makers on the East Coast might finally be getting a wake up call. During the time I lived in New York City, the area from Washington D.C. to Boston seemed to benefit from global warming, with milder winters and summers.

But countries need to be very ambitious to make a real difference:

By Grace van Deelen. Originally published at The New Lede

Human-caused global warming is set to surpass 2.7° Fahrenheit (1.5° Celsius) by the year 2037, overshooting an international goal beyond which severe climate disruptions may become the norm, according to a new analysis from 50 climate scientists.

“This is unprecedented in anything we have seen historically,” said Piers Forster, a professor at the University of Leeds and an author on the paper. Forster has also authored multiple climate reports with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), widely regarded as the international authority on climate science.

The 2016 Paris Agreement, which has been signed by nearly every country in the world, set an international goal to halt warming at 2.7° Fahrenheit. Beyond this point, scientists believe the effects of climate change will escalate, with widespread die-offs of coral reefs, common extreme heat waves, and destructive flooding of coastal cities. The study found that the global increase in temperatures has reached 2.05° Fahrenheit over the past decade.

The planet is also warming increasingly faster, with temperatures rising by an unprecedented 0.36° Fahrenheit since 2013, according to the new paper, published today in the journal Earth Systems Science Data.

“This is the critical decade for climate change,” said Forster in a statement. “Decisions made now will have an impact on how much temperatures will rise and the degree and severity of impacts we will see as a result.”

The scientists’ analysis also gives an update on humanity’s remaining carbon budget — the amount of greenhouse gas emissions humans can still emit to stay under the 2.7° Fahrenheit limit. According to the paper, the remaining carbon budget has halved since the IPCC calculated it in 2020. Now, humans have just 250 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left to emit, compared with the 500 gigatonnes available just three years ago — meaning ‘business as usual’ activities are expected to exhaust the carbon budget by 2029.

“If we don’t want to see the [IPCC] goal disappearing in our rearview mirror, the world must work much harder and urgently at bringing emissions down,” Forster said in a statement.

Greenhouse gas emissions reached an all-time high over the last decade. In 2021, emissions rose to over 54 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. The remaining carbon budget is “very small” in the context of humanity’s yearly emissions, said Joeri Rogelj, a professor of climate science at Imperial College London and an author on the paper. Rogelj is also an author of IPCC reports.

Greenhouse gas emissions are now on par with the emissions in 2019, just before the coronavirus pandemic caused worldwide lockdowns, he said. 

As the climate changes more quickly, scientists need to keep up with their analyses, too, said Forster. While the IPCC reports valuable and in-depth climate information, it only releases its major assessments every five to ten years. Today’s new research is an attempt to fill in the gaps left by the IPCC’s assessment cycle. 

The new paper is part of an initiative launched today led by Forster and the University of Leeds, called the Indicators of Global Climate Change Project, which aims to update climate analyses each year to keep people informed about the climate crisis.

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  1. Rip Van Winkle

    Don’t look at me. I haven’t turned on my air conditioner in Forgotten Flyover all year.

    1. some guy

      Don’t look at me either. I don’t even have air conditioning. Not even a window unit. And I don’t have a car either.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    How is a species reportedly capable of rational thought acting so irrationally? I just ran across an interesting podcast that details the history of The Limits to Growth that provided a warning about all this more than 50 years ago.

    Over the course of roughly 1 1/2 hours, the three-part audio podcast recounts how the founder of the Club of Rome, Aurelio Peccei, met with MIT systems department founder, Jay Forrester, about Peccei’s reason for founding the Club of Rome. A billionaire with a heart, Peccei had traveled the world and been shocked by the poverty, hunger and despair that still plagued humanity in an age of rapid technological progress. He devoted a portion of his fortune to providing the resources for some of the smartest thinkers in the world to produce an analysis of this failure and what might be its solutions.

    Forrester, who had already used systems analysis to study problems in the city of Boston, turned down Peccei because of the requirement that the project be completed in one year, something Forrester didn’t think was feasible. But two people, Dennis and Dana Meadows, were returning from a year of living out of a Land Rover while traveling the route then known as “the hippie trail” in Asia. They would take Forrester’s Boston model, expand it to world level, and use it to answer Peccei’s challenge. It turned out, as they consulted various experts on everything from soil to geology, that before Peccei’s problems could be tackled, humanity had a big limits problem it had to confront.

    The podcast goes on to recount how Peccei’s Club of Rome disowned the project’s results even as Peccei supported them personally. The research group had to go around the Club of Rome to publish with a renegade publisher to go public with their results. Just as with so many issues that would require a change in how we do business, economists quickly came to fore dismissing the study as bunk. Conservative scientists in key positions joined the detractors, and the familiar script featuring billionaire-backed liars for hire, some of whom operate today, come forward to confuse the public and provide an excuse for no action.

    It’s a very interesting piece of history featuring a lot of original recordings of Peccei, the Meadows, even Elliot Richardson, who took the report very seriously as Secretary of HEW, but was moved to AG, where he was a Saturday Night Massacre victim, before he could do much about it.

    1. NoFreeWill

      The problem is capitalism… and not possible to get rid of without revolutionary ecosocialism. It’s not us as a species, there’s plenty of hunter-gatherers still around and the 3rd world lives on a carbon budget taht’s completely sustainable, it’s the rich in 1st world countries who have decided ecocide and possible human extinction are worth a nicer life for themselves for a couple more decades. Until the rich are threatened by the consequences of their actions (i.e. by everyone else physically threatening them) they will keep doing what they do (which is rational in their limited scope (if older than say 40/50 they can live in luxury until they die without worry if things continue without any political uprising/revolution).

      1. Watt4Bob

        How much nicer is a billionaire’s life compared to a millionaire’s?

        Capitalism has the inherent vice of selecting for psychopaths.

      2. Kouros

        The problem is not the capitalism per se but who has political power in society. In the US, politicians are bought, lock, stock, and barrel. A little bit different than meritocratic China, I would say.

        Solve the political issues first, then you tame capitalism…

    2. Grebo

      One of the chief dismissers of The Limits to Growth was none other than William Nordhaus, the same guy that recently won a Nobelish prize for his execrable work minimising global warming.

      He will go down in history, if there is any, along with Thomas Midgely Jr as one of the most destructive individuals ever.

  3. Ignacio

    The ESSD paper is a pain in the neck to read. Six years to burn our settled ‘carbon budget’ and doing nothing but keeping with economic language to deal with something well beyond the economic powers.

    And, apparently, we are so depressed that we even don’t dare to comment on it.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The ESSD paper is indeed a pain in the neck to read. It’s finding that global warming is set to surpass 1.5° Celsius by the year 2037 – sooner than expected. As grim as that may be, it appears to me as an effort to pull attention away from and minimize Hansen et al. “Global Warming in the Pipeline”.

      Hansen’s most recent update email: “Equilibrium Warming = Committed Warming?”
      leads with a brief discussion of this result:
      “Equilibrium global warming including slow feedbacks for today’s human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) climate forcing (4.1 W/m2) is 10°C, reduced to 8°C by today’s aerosols” reported in his draft paper “Global Warming in the Pipeline” which was discussed in the post “New Notes on Global Warming”

      Hansen also had this to say about a scary finding from Hansen et al. 2016:
      “However, it’s not the new equilibrium at +200 feet that’s of most concern, it’s the chaos that ensues once ice sheet collapse begins in earnest. That chaos was the topic of our paper1 “Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms,”
      which was blackballed by IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). In that paper, we conclude that continuation of GHG emissions along the path that the world is on will lead to shutdown of the overturning (North Atlantic and Southern Ocean) circulations this century and sea level rise of several meters on a time scale of 50-150 years. As yet, little has changed to get us off that path.”

    2. thoughtful person

      I think that your last sentence is a really important insight: psychologically we tend to avoid anything that might be scary, painful, unpleasant. It’s considered impolite, uncouth to raise these issues (just like the covid19 pandemic has become). I guess one term is Denial.

      Not sure if anyone is following Sea Surface Temperatures. Since March this year has been in record territory compared to the satellite record going back to 1981. And it’s way beyond how much a typical year might be above previous years.

      The Jackpot is upon all of us, not just the poorest billion (who have long been written of as dispendable for ages). Now nearly all of us are expendable to most of the billionaires (clearly not all, a few like Aurelio Peccei are exceptions that prove the rule) who are making policy on this planet. The trajectory is deep human population reduction (as in LTG Business as usual model), and currently policies are set to encourage this, bring it on asap. Disaster Capitalism on steroids.

      1. southern appalachian

        Well, where I am we’ve watched the mountains ghost; thought this another reminder there’s not an away to get to anymore.

  4. tevhatch

    Human-Caused Warming
    I think that this is one of those terms to ignore the secondary releases from Permafrost, Methane clathrate, etc. Feedback loops, who needs them? That’s why they give such an optimistic view on the temperature increases.

  5. notabanker

    Do not worry my friends. ESG is here to save us. Carbon offsets and diverse hires will solve this problem. Now please get back to work at your downtown office three days a week.

    1. Cocomaan

      Exactly. It’s hard for me to take any of these climate agreements seriously when the people preaching it also want everyone on the road going to offices for the economy.

      They also appear to think that personal abstinence from carbon is the only way out of this. Let me know how that worked with the drug war, with prohibition, and with sex ed.

  6. Michael.j

    If you want a front row seat to the mayhem just load up ,tap on Earth, then look at the wind at 250 millibars (32000 ft) where what’s left of the jet streams reside. It’s a mess. For the past week, a large high pressure going all the way to the stratosphere has been parked over North America, stalling all weather systems, and providing smoke to the East Coast.

    If you go back to the surface winds, click on “bio”, then on “fires” you can watch all the wild fires across the Northern Hemisphere. Just for “yucks” find where there are none, just a little downwind from where the President of THAT country has parked a number of small nuclear floating power plants, as per Wikipedia, as he promised he would do in his annual address of 2021, as a technical means to keep the permafrost from melting. This followed a large international Arctic expedition of ice scientists the prior fall.

    The location is also where a certain Russian/ American ice scientist from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks warned of a methane outbreak in 2013.

    Now ask yourself, if this a time when you want to be at war?

    Just sayin!

  7. rjs

    i could not get past this tweet: “Global CO2 emissions are flattening. Thats good news”

    it’s not good news if the atmosphere doesn’t get the message…

    “This year’s annual increase of CO2 levels is one of the largest on record, representing an accumulation of the heat-trapped gases “not seen for millions of years,” scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. The current amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 50 percent higher than it was before the industrial era, the NOAA and Scripps scientists said in a report.”


    seriously, nothing else matters…you can pass 10 Green New Deals, but if atmospheric CO2 levels rise, you’re toast

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