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2022 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

Posted on 17 December 2022 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Dec 11, 2022  thru Sat, Dec 17, 2022.

Story of the Week

1.5 and 2°C: A Journey Through the Temperature Target That Haunts the World

Seven years have passed since the Paris Agreement, the most important climate pact to date. Everyone knows the limits of warming, but few know their origins and drivers. 

Translated from the original published at

Two numbers. One long-term goal. In 2015, nearly 200 countries agreed to “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”. It was at COP21, where the Paris Agreement, the most important climate pact to date, was enshrined.

That paragraph, in article 2, paragraph 2.a., marked a before and after. Every policy, law, regulation, study, analysis, proposal or action that has the climate crisis in mind is built on the basis of those two figures: 1.5 and 2. They are our lighthouse. But why are both numbers so important? And what is even less well known: where do they come from?

The answer is neither simple nor short. Like a chicken and egg dilemma, who came up with these goals first, politics or science? In the following lines, we will try to unravel their origins and understand how two numerical targets have ended up guiding and influencing the planet.

Just as the legend that babies come from storks from Paris is not true, temperature limits did not magically appear during the summit in the French capital. Nor did they appear at the same time, nor has the same language always been used to refer to them, as will be seen below.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on DeSmog International. 

1.5 and 2°C: A Journey Through the Temperature Target That Haunts the World by Edu Robaina, DeSmog International, Dec 11, 2022

Links posted on Facebook

Sun, Dec 11, 2022

Mon, Dec 12, 2022

Tue, Dec 13, 2022

Wed, Dec 14, 2022

Thu, Dec 15, 2022

Fri, Dec 16, 2022

Sat, Dec 17, 2022

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Comments 1 to 1:

  1. Thank you for curating another excellent set of recent news items.

    The Story of the Week is very informative. And it contains a gem: the indication that in 1990 there was a rational evidence-based presentation indicating that warming above 1.0 C would be entering unsafe, increasingly risky and harder to predict climate territory.

    What is not presented, but is clear from the evidence, is that the SSP studied pathways were constrained to 'not harm economic perceptions that have developed and not restrict the development of increased perceptions of prosperity'. That constraint of understanding was/is part of the systemic problem that needs to be corrected.

    Said another way a sustainable effective solution to the problem will require 'the thinking and investigation, the science, to be unrestricted'. There should be no protection for harmful developed economic interests. even if opening up that line of thinking would more significantly annoy some already annoyed powerful wealthy people. That harmful 'protection of economic perceptions' can also be seen to have  harmfully compromised the interactions at the Diversity COP15.

    The 'more common sense awareness and understanding regarding climate impacts' should be that by 1990 a substantial amount of developed perceptions of economic prosperity and status were built and based on harmful unsustainable activity. It was harmful at that time to deny the need to reduce the amount of harmful developed activity. It was harmful to hope that continued, and growing, harmful economic activity only being displaced by 'cheaper and more popular' technological developments would 'achieve the required limit of harm to future generations'. The situation is worse today, and continues to be made worse, because of excusing already more than adequately wealthy people who continue pursuing more personal benefit from understandably harmful activity.

    That common sense understanding is still far from being a common enough understanding to effectively govern and correct the harmful over-development. In spite of all the evidence of that common sense understanding regarding the systemic problems developed by 'popularity and profitability being the measures of what is desirable and acceptable', many people continue to be free to act on harmful misunderstandings. And they are fighting harder to resist learning that important lesson from recent history, a lesson that has tragically been able to be learned repeatedly throughout history.

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