Pre-COP26 briefing notes on 1.5°C warming now available

In the run-up to COP26, which will be held in Glasgow this November, CONSTRAIN has produced two pre-COP26 briefing notes which aim to demystify some of the concepts that will be high on the agenda.

The first briefing note examines how likely we are to stay within 1.5°C of warming as we approach mid-century.   It looks at three possible warming trajectories for the next 10-15 years as global economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and presents estimates of average future warming from 2021 to 2030 and 2035 respectively, as well as the likelihood of reaching 1.5°C warming in each of those years.

The results show that we are unlikely to pass 1.5°C warming before 2030 under any of the three recovery options, but a fossil-fuelled recovery would mean an 80% chance of reaching 1.5°C by 2035.  In comparison, a strong green recovery would halve that chance to 40%, highlighting the need to cut emissions hard and fast to give ourselves the best chance to avoid the most dangerous climate change.

The second briefing note explains what we mean by a 1.5°C pathway, highlighting that there is no single “right” pathway to follow for limiting peak warming to 1.5°C.  Instead, there are many pathways with common features, some of which have more benefits for broader sustainable development goals than others.  The most important thing is taking action now, rather than delaying any further.

We plan to provide more briefings in the near future to support informed discussions and debates at COP26.