3 questions for …
... Jülich researcher Prof. Astrid Kiendler-Scharr, lead author of the chapter on short-lived climate forcers in the current IPCC report.
What do a few tenths of a degree more or less of warming mean?
The number and intensity of extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall with devastating floods, increases with every tenth of a degree.
Can the global 1.5 degree target still be met at all?
Yes, under two conditions: we still have a CO2 budget of 400 to 500 gigatonnes. Mankind currently emits about 40 gigatonnes per year, so it’s clear that we don’t have much time left. Only a systematic CO2 neutrality will stabilize the climate in the long term. In addition, we also need to reduce the short-lived climate forcers.
“It will take a few years for all reductions to gradually take effect.”
Prof. Astrid Kiendler-Scharr
Astrid Kiendler-Scharr is Director of the Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-8) and Chairwoman of the Board of the German Climate Consortium (DKK).
How do you rate the decisions of the World Climate Conference that were adopted in Glasgow in November?
The sharpness with which almost all member states express their political will to become climate neutral in just a few decades leaves me optimistic. This is the only way to slow down climate change. The new pledges, for example to reduce methane or stop deforestation, do have the potential to stabilize warming at around two degrees Celsius. While this is not yet satisfactory, it is a significant step forward compared to the situation right after the 2015 Paris Agreement. Even so, a goal without a plan is no more than a wish. If we really want to achieve the proclaimed goals, all countries must act immediately and decisively advance implementation over the next ten years.0.10
Celsius is the extent of global warming since weather records began in 1881, according to the IPCC.0.10
Celsius is the extent of warming in Germany during the same period, according to data from Germany’s National Meteorological Service (DWD).
Photo: Forschungszentrum Jülich/Ralf-Uwe Limbach Illustration: Bernd Struckmeyer