The latest issue of Philosophical Transactions A looks at the Paris agreement on climate change and explores the physical and social challenges for limiting long-term temperature rises to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
In December 2015, the Paris climate agreement was adopted by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The agreement set an ambitious target of keeping global temperature rises this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. The long-term goals set out by the agreement were more ambitious than had been anticipated and had been under-explored by the research community.
The latest issue of Philosophical Transactions A, guest edited by Myles Allen, Jim Hall and Benito Mueller from the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, along with Dann Mitchell (University of Bristol), Lavanya Rajamani (Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi) and Corinne Le Quéré (University of East Anglia), explores the myriad of challenges (both social and physical) posed by the Paris agreement. Recognising that this is very much a multi-disciplinary challenge, the issue is made up of papers from across the physical and life sciences, as well as contributions from a legal, economic, political and public policy perspective. They conclude that limiting warming to 1.5°C in the context of sustainable and equitable development is still possible. However, it remains to be seen whether the evidence provided on climate change impacts avoided by stabilising at 1.5°C over higher temperature thresholds will be sufficient to motivate action on the scale and pace needed to achieve the 1.5°C goal.