...For politics, the stakes are high. Just ponder these two potential outcomes:
- Suppose the paper is correct, then 1.5°C is a distinct possibility, about the same effort that we previously thought for 2°C. There would be real and tangible hope for small island states and other vulnerable communities. And 2°C would be a rather feasible and realistic option, meaning that I would have to go eat some serious humble pie.
- Suppose we start to act on their larger budgets, but after another 5-10 years we discover they were wrong. Then we may have completely blown any chance of 1.5°C or 2°C.
I seriously hope they have this right, or at least, I hope they will be vocal if they revise their estimates downwards!
For science, I can’t help but frame the paper in two ways:
- We understand the climate system, but a more careful accounting shows the carbon budgets are much larger.
- We don’t understand the climate system...
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