The unexpected adverse climate effects of the Paris Agreement target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C

« Focusing attention on temperatures erases other concrete consequences of global warming, such as rising sea levels, which are already being felt around the world sums up Regine Spector, professor of political science at the University of Amherst Massachusetts. She participated in a study published in the journal Earth’s future. The latter shows that a rise in temperatures in line with the Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2015 would have significant consequences on the rise in water levels as well as on the very control of rising temperatures.

[À lire aussi Dernier rapport du GIEC, l’essentiel]

A melting of the ice that attenuates the rise in temperatures but not the impacts of global warming

Scientists have been interested in the impact of rising temperatures on the Antarctic land ice sheet. Warmer temperatures of even 1.5 degrees, as predicted in the Paris Agreement, would cause the Antarctic glacier to melt slowly. The phenomenon would last for millennia and would contribute to rising sea levels while the influx of cold fresh water into the oceans would mitigate the global rise in temperatures. Thus, the real increase in temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities would be partly masked. The website explain that : ” it is conceivable that the melting of the ice sheet could help maintain global temperatures at a level commonly considered “safe” [NDLR sure], which at the same time would allow a devastating sea level rise. »

[À lire aussi Sandrine Maljean-Dubois à propos de la COP27 : « paradoxalement, plus l’objectif de 1,5°C s’impose dans l’agenda, plus on s’en éloigne »]

A subject of climate justice

The rise in sea level will not affect the regions of the world in the same way. Island states are among the most exposed and vulnerable. Sea level rise will be between 11% and 33% higher in the countries of the Alliance of Small Island States, or AOSIS, than the global average, according to this study. The Alliance of Small Island States is an intergovernmental organization that brings together 39 States with a total population of over 65 million. They are among the most exposed to the risks associated with rising waters. Leading the study’s lead author, Shaina Sadai, a doctoral student in geosciences at the University of Amherst Massachusetts, to state: temperatures are not the only way to follow the global evolution of climate change. But, temperature has become an iconic metric in the Paris Agreement. But knowing that melting Antarctica can delay rising temperatures while increasing sea level rise. I wonder what that means in terms of climate justice. Science alone cannot provide answers to the question of justice climatic ».

[À lire aussi Jean Jouzel : « 2 degrés est un objectif politique »]

Julien Leprovost

To read also:

Climate: for Antarctica and sea levels, every degree counts, according to a study

Monitoring the inexorable rise in sea level

The GoodPlanet Foundation’s point of view on a COP27 which, despite a historic step forward, calls for vigilance

At COP27, poor countries castigate inaction, demand funds

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