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Why is the 1.5 °C Objective So Important?


  • The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has published two important papers, “Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update 2023-2027” and “State of Global Climate 2022,” which offer insight on the future of climate change. These papers present a sobering picture of the difficulties we face and highlight the immediate need for global action to address the worsening climate disaster.
  • The WMO projects that between 2023 and 2027, the average global surface temperature would increase by 1.1–1.8 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels (1850–1900). Alarming predictions show that by 2027, the average global temperature would be higher than the 1.5 degree Celsius barrier, beyond which the consequences might be catastrophic and irreversible.


GS Paper 3: Climate Change

Mains question

What are the main obstacles to meeting the 1.5 degree Celsius objective and potential solutions that have been mentioned in recent World Meteorological Organisation publications that emphasise the urgency of global action on climate change? (250 Words)

Why is the 1.5 Celsius objective so important?

  • The results of the IPCC’s special report from 2018 highlight how crucial the 1.5 degree Celsius objective is. It demonstrated the glaring differences between the effects of 1.5 and 2 degrees global warming. Droughts, excessive precipitation, an additional 10 centimetre rise in sea levels, irreparable harm to ecosystems, and other severe repercussions would all come from even a 2-degree increase.The worldwide climate goal of keeping the rise in average global temperature to this level by the year 2100 is known as the 1.5 degree Celsius target. The acceptable objective had been established at 2 degrees Celsius for a very long time. Small island countries, whose very survival is endangered by increasing sea levels, advocated for a more aggressive goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Countries agreed to restrict global warming to far below 2 degrees Celsius while aiming for a 1.5-degree increase in 2015 during the Paris Agreement negotiations, recognising the seriousness of the situation. This objective was approved by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018, making it a universal requirement in all climate conversations.
  • Regional variations and vulnerabilities heighten the urgency of taking action on climate change. Notably, the Arctic warms more rapidly than the rest of the world on average, a phenomenon known as “polar amplification.” These geographical differences emphasise the need to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to lessen the worst effects.

Present Development and Challenges

  • Despite the fact that climate change needs to be addressed on a global scale, the aims have not been sufficiently advanced. It is anticipated that developed nations, which traditionally account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, will lead the way in enacting climate change measures. Even those with considerable emissions, like China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, fare poorly in terms of climate performance, including Australia, the United States, Japan, Russia, and Canada, which have made only little progress towards fulfilling their promises.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic made things worse by deflecting attention and resources from long-term recovery initiatives. Many countries’ post-pandemic recovery plans neglected to take sustainability into account, which slowed the world’s progress towards its climate goals.
  • Achieving climate goals has become more difficult as a result of the recent energy crisis brought on by the conflict in Ukraine. A comprehensive and coordinated approach including national commitments, international cooperation, and sustainable recovery measures is required to combat climate change.
  • The Relationship Between Extreme Weather Events and Global Temperature Rise Recent forecasts suggest a rise in maritime heat waves and anomalous precipitation, as well as a larger likelihood of seeing temperatures higher than those seen in 2016 during the El Nio cycle. The diminishing cryosphere, which includes mass glacier loss in High-mountain Asia, Western North America, and South America, is a clear indicator of climate change’s effects. Rising sea levels are also a result of the Greenlandic ice sheet’s accelerating melting.
  • Storms, floods, and other extreme weather conditions have a detrimental effect on ecosystems and human populations. The most recent example is the 2022 heatwaves in Pakistan and India.
  • Food insecurity and displacement have resulted from decreased crop yields, as evidenced in nations like Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan.In addition, both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are being disrupted, with migratory species on the decline and coral reefs becoming more susceptible to bleaching.

India’s Efforts and Vulnerability

  • Climate change has had a huge influence, especially on India. The nation achieved the warmest February since records have been kept beginning in 1901 in February 2023.
  • Despite being a developing country with development demands, India has taken steps to reconcile its development ambitions with climate action. Last year, extreme weather events struck India for roughly 80% of the days, causing deadly wildfires in Uttarakhand and severe food shortages.
  • The nation does well in terms of its internal programmes, such as the Green Hydrogen Mission and the introduction of green bonds, and is ranked eighth on the Climate Change Performance Index 2023.
  • Additionally demonstrating its dedication to international climate initiatives is India’s strong engagement in groups like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

Conclusion: Time for Urgent Action

  • The World Meteorological Organization’s most recent assessments serve as a harsh reminder of the necessity for immediate action to address the climate issue.
  • The predictions show that we are getting close to a tipping point, with the average global temperature predicted to rise above the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2027. Failure to keep global warming below this point would have disastrous and lasting effects on both the environment and human populations.
  • According to the existing trend, nations must satisfy their obligations under the Paris Agreement and quicken their transition to a low-carbon economy. To cut greenhouse gas emissions, improve resilience, and advance sustainable development, bold and all-encompassing actions are needed. To ensure a sustainable and safe future for future generations, the global community must cooperate

December 2023