The story of half a degree of warmth

Thursday 29 November 2018

Image credit: Charles Ruys / Flickfeeder

Energised from lunch we head back in the auditorium. Kicking off was Jan Dirk van den Burg who this year was nominated as the Dutch National Photographer, and takes a ‘slide-show’ to a whole new dimension! Now it’s time for our next speaker.

Professor Heleen de Coninck takes her place on the red dot and transports us to a cold room. We are deciding what temperature to set the heating too; does it matter if we choose half a degree more? Whilst we won’t really notice the difference every half a degree counts when it comes to global warming.

“One half degree means the difference between a high-damage but manageable disaster, and outright catastrophic impacts.”

Human activity has already resulted in an increased global temperature of 1 degree C and the Paris Agreement stipulates staying well below a 2 degree increase and pursue efforts to remain under a 1,5 degree C increase. But if we continue as we are then we will reach that in the coming decades, maybe even within the next 15 years.

And this only accounts for the mean global temperature:

“A world mean rise of 1C hides much stronger rises in specific places in the world, such as the polar regions”

Whilst we have known for over 30 years that climate change is a very real threat we have not done enough about it. We continue to live, consume and pollute.

But there is hope. We can stay below 1,5 degrees C, the threshold is not yet crossed and we can protect our future.

Heleen’s message is clear; we need dramatic change and capabilities to stem the rise but we cannot overlook the seemingly small actions, every half a degree matters.

Image credit: Chiel Eijt / Flickfeeder
“Every warming matters. Every single one..We can still stay below 1,5 degree C.”

Watch Heleen’s talk here soon!

- written by Emily Bingham

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