Ditch the 2 °C warming goal
Average global temperature is not a good indicator of planetary health. Track a range of vital signs instead, urge David G. Victor and Charles F. Kennel.
For nearly a decade, international diplomacy has focused on stopping global warming at 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This goal — bold and easy to grasp — has been accepted uncritically and has proved influential.
The emissions-mitigation report of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is framed to address this aim, as is nearly every policy plan to reduce carbon emissions — from California’s to that of the European Union (EU). This month, diplomatic talks will resume to prepare an agreement ahead of a major climate summit in Paris in 2015; again, a 2 °C warming limit…
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