The climate change debate has generated another controversy after a recent study emphasized that even a 2 degree goal may be insufficient. Scientists David G. Victor and Charles F. Kennel had suggested in an article published in the month of October, 2014, last year, that the goal of “capping global warming to a maximum of 2 degree Celsius” over the levels prevalent before industrialization, may no longer be sufficient.
This built the case for a recently published article, authored by Petra Tschakert of Penn State University who scrutinized Victor’s and Kennel’s proposition and arrived at the same conclusion. Tschakert has found the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCC) goal of 2 degrees as “utterly inadequate” and instead, proposed that the target should be revised to 1.5 degree Celsius.
Back in 2009, at the UNFCC, nations around the world had agreed to a 2 degree Celsius limit and had collectively pledged to do everything in their power to reduce current global temperature to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Also, called the Copenhagen Accord, it also endorsed the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol that was adopted in the year 1997. Although, the protocol has now subsided, owing to its non-renewal after the Doha Amendment, the Kyoto Protocol was the first serious attempt at recognizing the perils of global warming. The protocol also laid down the seeds for climate control policies. A total number of 192 countries had signed up to the protocol, but effective action remains to be implemented.
2014’S UNFCC Conference of Parties (COP), conducted last year in Lima, was supposed to take up the challenge of global warming and ensure that nations agreed to cuts in their national carbon emission levels. However, the COP was unsuccessful as the parties could not agree on national levels. The next year’s UNFCC COP is scheduled to be held in Paris from 30th November to 11th December, 2015. The COP will continue from Lima’s agenda and make efforts towards achieving a legally binding agreement. However, the success of that COP is still in question, as even the leadership of the COP has not been decided yet.
It is in this backdrop, that Tschakert’s article needs to be viewed. Writing in the article published in the open access journal, ‘Climate Change Responses’, she insisted on an even lower cap, as any other higher limit would have a direct negative impact upon coral reefs, cause rises in sea levels and lead to the maintenance of the Arctic ice during summers.