Timescale for Action to fix Global Warming

Paris Agreement (2015)

At COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake take ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.

The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to increase the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, and at making finance flows consistent with a low GHG emissions and climate-resilient pathway. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate mobilization and provision of financial resources, a new technology framework and enhanced capacity-building is to be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for an enhanced transparency framework for action and support.

The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts. There will also be a global stocktake every 5 years to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and to inform further individual actions by Parties.

Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5o C (2018)

In 2018 IPCC published: Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. "On the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty."

This report shows that human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate, as shown in the figure below.

Panel a: Observed monthly global mean surface temperature (GMST, grey line up to 2017, from the HadCRUT4, GISTEMP, Cowtan–Way, and NOAA datasets) change and estimated anthropogenic global warming (solid orange line up to 2017, with orange shading indicating assessed likely range). Orange dashed arrow and horizontal orange error bar show respectively the central estimate and likely range of the time at which 1.5°C is reached if the current rate of warming continues. The grey plume on the right of panel a shows the likely range of warming responses, computed with a simple climate model, to a stylized pathway (hypothetical future) in which net CO2 emissions (grey line in panels b and c) decline in a straight line from 2020 to reach net zero in 2055 and net non-CO2 radiative forcing (grey line in panel d) increases to 2030 and then declines. The blue plume in panel a) shows the response to faster CO2 emissions reductions (blue line in panel b), reaching net zero in 2040, reducing cumulative CO2 emissions (panel c). The purple plume shows the response to net CO2 emissions declining to zero in 2055, with net non-CO2 forcing remaining constant after 2030. The vertical error bars on right of panel a) show the likely ranges (thin lines) and central terciles (33rd – 66th percentiles, thick lines) of the estimated distribution of warming in 2100 under these three stylized pathways. Vertical dotted error bars in panels b, c and d show the likely range of historical annual and cumulative global net CO2 emissions in 2017 (data from the Global Carbon Project) and of net non-CO2 radiative forcing in 2011 from AR5, respectively. Vertical axes in panels c and d are scaled to represent approximately equal effects on GMST.

Among the conclusion of the report it is stated:

Estimates of the global emissions outcome of current nationally stated mitigation ambitions as submitted under the Paris Agreement would lead to global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 of 52–58 GtCO2eq yr−1. Pathways reflecting these ambitions would not limit global warming to 1.5°C, even if supplemented by very challenging increases in the scale and ambition of emissions reductions after 2030. Avoiding overshoot and reliance on future large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal can only be achieved if global CO2 emissions start to decline well before 2030. 

"Green" activists seem to have interpreted this IPCC report in the sense that emissions must be reduced to zero by 2030. This is said nowhere in the report. Carbon neutral by 2030 worldwide is obviously not going to happen. It is difficult to understand why some political parties are pushing this

Carbon neutral by 2050 is the basis of the plans of many nations. While achieving this is likely to be very difficult, setting an earlier goal 2030 could be counter productive.