A statistical analysis led by researchers at the University of Washington sees almost no chance that the world’s nations will be able to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over the course of the 21st century, as promised in last year’s Paris climate accord.
“Our analysis shows that the goal of 2 degrees is very much a best-case scenario,” lead author Adrian Raftery, a UW professor of statistics and sociology, said today in a news release. “It is achievable, but only with major, sustained effort on all fronts over the next 80 years.”
The analysis, published in Nature Climate Change, is consistent with the mainstream view held by climate scientists and policymakers.
In discussions about the future effects of climate change, the 2-degree mark has been called a “speed limit” that, if broken, would significantly heighten humanity’s peril. But even as the goal was being set, experts voiced worries that it would be very hard to stay below the speed limit by 2100.