In the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, almost all nations on Earth (195 in total) have committed to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”. The agreement entered into force already in November 2016, having been ratified faster than any UN treaty before it.

Humanity has already started the inevitable transition towards clean renewable energy sources including wind, solar energy and geothermal. All nations of the world could reach 100% renewable energy supply by 2050, if they strive to do so. Worldwide CO2 emissions have risen less in the past five years than before, and emissions have started to fall in the US, Europe and China. If citizens, governments and businesses worldwide forcefully push to tackle the climate crisis, it is still possible to decarbonize our energy system in time to stop global warming well below the 2 degree threshold, as agreed in Paris.

CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement production in key countries. Source: The Global Carbon Project.


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Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Prof. Edward Maibach
George Mason University