Climate change has been a topic of discussion for decades, and while progress has been made in reducing carbon emissions, a new study predicts that the world is on a trajectory to surpass the internationally agreed-upon threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming within a decade. The study, which was published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses artificial intelligence to make more precise predictions about the future of the planet's temperature.
According to the study, even with significant cuts to pollution, the world is likely to surpass the 1.5-degree mark between 2033 and 2035. This reignites the debate on whether it's still possible to limit global warming to the 1.5 degrees called for in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The world has already warmed 1.1 or 1.2 degrees since pre-industrial times, and the new AI-based study suggests that it is unlikely that temperature increase could be held below 2 degrees Celsius, even with the toughest emissions cuts.
The study's authors, Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University, argue that avoiding a 2-degree rise in temperature may depend on nations meeting zero-emissions goals by the middle of this century. In a high-pollution scenario, the AI predicts that the world will hit the 2-degree mark around 2050, while lower pollution could stave that off until 2054.
This outlook is much more pessimistic than previous forecasts made by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in its 2021 report, predicted that the same lower-pollution scenario would result in the world surpassing 2 degrees sometime in the 2090s.
Climate scientists have praised the use of AI in this study, saying it has the potential to produce better projections in the future. However, more evidence is needed before reaching a conclusion. Normally, climate scientists use computer model simulations and try to determine the best ones based on their past performance. The AI-based study is more focused on the current climate system, taking into account more information than the human mind could.
While some climate scientists believe that the world can no longer keep warming below 1.5 degrees, others believe that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The challenge, they say, is to limit warming as much as possible, and rapid decarbonization could be the key.
In conclusion, the latest study on the future of the planet's temperature is a wake-up call for the world. The future looks bleak, but there is still hope. If the world can cut its carbon emissions in half by 2030, then warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees, with a tiny overshoot and then reductions to get under the mark. It's time to take action and work together to create a better future for the planet.