A new study says that there is just five per cent chance of limiting global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the century’s end as laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016.
The Paris Climate Agreement saw 195 nations come together in the shared goal of ameliorating climate change.
The new findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests it is not feasible for the world to meet the global temperature goals adopted in the agreement, and nearly unfathomable that the collective nations will exceed expectations.
Using a combination of statistical, scientific and economic data, the researchers determined that there is 95 per cent chance that global temperatures would increase by more than two degrees Celsius.
The team looked at statistical data from 1960 to 2010 and found that temperatures over the next 80 years will likely increase from two to 4.9 degrees Celsius, with a projected median of 3.2 degrees Celsius.
It is most likely (a 90 per cent chance) that global temperatures will fall somewhere in the middle of the range, the researchers said.
“This is a high-tech statistical model that looks at what has happened to per-capita output in each country, to carbon intensity in each country, and to population in each country,” said Dick Startz, Professor at University of California, Santa Barbara.
“What we find is that there is a wide range of what could happen, but unfortunately the bottom end of the range is still fairly bad, and the top end of the range is catastrophic,” Startz said.
The researchers were surprised to find the major contributing factor in climate change over time was not population growth, but carbon intensity, which is a measure of carbon dioxide per unit of gross domestic product.
“For a lot of history, carbon intensity rises for a while, reaches a peak, and then starts to fall,” Startz explained.
“Our predictions assume that carbon intensity is going to continue to trend downward, as it has been.
That still leaves us in a mess. The only thing that is going to get us out of it is finding a way to make carbon intensity fall much more quickly than it has been,” Startz added.