Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Andrew King, Climate Extremes Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

Almost all of us are going to be worse off as climate change takes hold, whether through heatwaves, changing rainfall patterns, sea level rise, or damage to ecosystems. But it’s the world’s poorest people who will suffer the biggest disruptions to their local climate, as our new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters today, explains.

The Paris Agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels, and ideally no more than 1.5℃. Meeting the more ambitious 1.5℃ target will be extremely challenging, given that we have already had more than 1℃ of global warming so far, and global greenhouse emissions are still rising.

Read more: Fossil fuel emissions hit record high after unexpected growth: Global Carbon Budget 2017

We examined the likely consequences of missing the 1.5℃ global warming target in terms of perceptible local climate change, by looking at the “signal-to-noise ratio”. The idea is that 1℃ of warming is more noticeable where there is very little variation in temperature (such as in Singapore, for example) compared with places where the temperature variations are much higher (like Melbourne). Where temperature variations are smaller less warming is needed before the change in climate becomes noticeable.

Read more: Ground zero for climate change: the tropics were first to feel the definite effects in the 1960s

Society and ecosystems are adapted to the range of temperatures experienced in their location, so the signal-to-noise measure of climate change reflects this effect. In simple terms, it is a measure of how soon global warming will push the temperature beyond the normal bounds of variation at a given location. This will happen sooner in places where the weather doesn’t vary much, and later in places where it does.

Because global warming is likely to overshoot the ambitious Paris goal of 1.5℃, but perhaps not the more modest 2℃ goal, we looked in particular at the signal-to-noise ratio created by using state-of-the-art global climate model projections to move between 1.5℃ and 2℃ of global warming.

Why blowing the 1.5C global warming goal will leave poor tropical nations sweating most of all More perceptible warming is projected over the tropics than at higher latitudes. CREDIT, Author provided

As expected, the signal-to-noise ratio is high in the tropics, where the variability in temperature is lower. This means that local temperature changes due to global warming will generally be felt more keenly in the tropics than at higher latitudes if the world exceeds the 1.5℃ Paris target.

The inequality of climate change

Next, we overlaid the signal-to-noise ratio data with population and gross domestic product (GDP) data to investigate the relationship between local climate change and wealth.

As the less economically developed areas of the world are predominantly in the tropics, and the more developed economies are at higher latitudes, we predict that the world’s wealthiest countries will experience less perceptible climate change than the poorest.

Why blowing the 1.5C global warming goal will leave poor tropical nations sweating most of all Locations in the poorest countries tend to experience greater local climate change. Author provided

For example, we project that the people of the UK, the first country to industrialise and one of the world’s richest nations, would experience less than half the level of perceptible climate change, as measured by our signal-to-noise ratio, than the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world’s poorest.

This means that if we do exceed the 1.5℃ Paris target, the countries that will face the biggest impact are those who are least to blame for creating the problem, and least equipped to deal with the resulting problems.

Read more: Developing countries can prosper without increasing emissions

An impetus to act

Keeping global warming to modest levels, as signatories to the Paris Agreement have pledged to do, has many benefits compared with the alternative of a 3℃ or 4℃ warmer world. Previous research has shown that this would reduce the frequency of heat extremes and their impacts in many places around the world, and would reduce droughts and extreme rain events. There would be benefits for many of the world’s plant and animal species as well as entire ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef.

Limiting global warming also helps the poorest parts of the world develop. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly the developed world would put less of the burden of climate change onto the developing world. This should incentivise stronger emissions reductions globally. The UN Sustainable Development Goals call for action to eradicate absolute poverty and reduce inequality. Our research underlines the fact that both of these goals, and others, depend implicitly on reining in global warming.

Unfortunately, the alternative – and where our current emissions trajectory is taking us – is a warmer world in which the poorest and least culpable nations pay the biggest price.

Authors: Andrew King, Climate Extremes Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

Read more http://theconversation.com/why-blowing-the-1-5c-global-warming-goal-will-leave-poor-tropical-nations-sweating-most-of-all-96988

Creative destruction: the COVID-19 economic crisis is accelerating the demise of fossil fuels

arrow_forward

More screen time, snacking and chores: a snapshot of how everyday life changed during the first coronavirus lockdown

arrow_forward

How to Dress To Kill All the Time

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Tracy Grimshaw

TRACY GRIMSHAW: Prime Minister, thank you for your time.    PRIME MINISTER: Great to be here. Thank you for the opportunity.    GRIMSHAW: A month or so ago, you probably thought that today's...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Instant Steel Solutions Review

Are you keen on having the right guidance, knowledge and information about the right kind of steel purchases for your industries? If yes, then you are in the right place. There is no doubt that ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Everything You Need To Know About Waste Removal Services 

Waste is capable of posing threats to the environment and general public health. So, if you want to live a healthy life, you need to take care of your waste products. Proper collection and dispo...

News Company - avatar News Company

How Forklift Rental Can Assist During Unexpected Upturns

Although some companies might balk at the prospect of hiring a forklift for the work they need to get done rather than buying it, hiring a forklift can fill a very specific need: being able to m...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion