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Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Planet at risk of heading towards irreversible “Hothouse Earth” state

Planet at risk of heading towards irreversible “Hothouse Earth” state

Keeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed. An international team of scientists has published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showing that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of the planet entering what the scientists call “Hothouse Earth” conditions. A “Hothouse Earth” climate will in the long term stabilize at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures with sea level 10-60 m higher than today, the paper says. The authors conclude it is now urgent to greatly accelerate the transition towards an emission-free world economy. Read more...


Graphic: Global map of potential tipping cascades. See press release for full figure and figure caption. PNAS, Steffen et al, 2018

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