A rise of 2C is considered the most the Earth could tolerate without risking catastrophic changes to food production, sea levels, fishing, wildlife, deserts and water reserves. Even if rises are pegged at 2C, scientists say this will still destroy most coral reefs and glaciers and melt significant parts of the Greenland ice cap, bringing major rises in sea levels.
“We have had a global temperature rise of almost 1C since the industrial revolution and have already seen widespread impacts that have had real consequences for people,” said climate expert Professor Chris Field of Stanford University. “We should therefore be striving to limit warming to as far below 2C as possible. However, that will require a level of ambition that we have not yet seen.”