‘Tour de force’ study increases the precision of warming predictions, is a ‘five-alarm fire’ for the planet

NASA

Scientists now know with even greater precision that global temperatures will rise to extremely damaging levels if greenhouse gas pollution is not dramatically reduced, according to a major international study released Wednesday.

The four-year research effort conducted by 25 scientists from around the world narrowed the range of the atmosphere’s sensitivity to increased carbon dioxide concentrations — that is, how much warming will result from a given concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. The paper found that at 560 parts per million of CO2 (double preindustrial levels) global temperatures will likely rise 2.6°C to 4.1°C. On the current emissions trajectory, the world could reach that threshold by 2060. The findings mean that even in a near-best case scenario, global warming will be extremely damaging — heating beyond 2°C will bring disruptive sea level rise, intolerable heat waves, and permanent ecosystem damage, according to The Guardian.

The report is a “five-alarm fire” for the planet, Kate Marvel, a physicist at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies and Columbia University and an author of the paper told the Washington Post. The study, described as “a tour de force of climate science” by Andrew Dessler, a Texas A&M climate scientist who served as an outside reviewer, is a blow to the claims of climate deniers and other opponents of climate action, who say global temperatures will not rise as much as scientists have predicted.

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