A leaked draft copy of a United Nations climate change report says there is a “very high risk” of the planet warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, and that the key threshold will likely be crossed in the 2040s, according to reporting by Climate Home and other news outlets.
The 31-page draft is a scientific analysis of the achievability of the 1.5-degree goal set forth in the Paris Agreement to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. The report is expected to be finalized in October.
The study says that staying below 1.5 degrees of warming is likely “already out of reach.” It reports that in some places around the globe, such as in the Arctic, warming has already exceeded 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. The impacts of 1.5 degrees of warming are not as drastic as 2 degrees, but still significant, it says. That amount of warming in the oceans may be too much for coral reefs, and there is a chance that Greenland or the West Antarctic ice sheets will begin irreversible retreat at 1.5 degrees.
Jonathan Lynn, a spokesman for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the organization behind the report, cautioned The Washington Post that “the text is highly likely to change between this draft and the final approved summary for policymakers.”