Investors and businesses may need to adjust their expectations for the transition to a low carbon economy as the broadly accepted target limit for global temperatures could be too high, according to the Climate Institute.
While the Paris agreement on limiting climate change, which came in to effect in November 2016, saw “almost every country in the world” commit to limiting further increases in global temperature to a maximum 2 degrees, the Climate Institute said it also pushed for this limit to be 1.5 degrees.
“This goal requires that total global greenhouse gas emissions start declining rapidly and reach net zero emissions by around 2070,” the Climate Institute said.
The Climate Institute said this 1.5 degree objective is more significant than the 2 degree target, as an increase of 2 degrees “does not represent a ‘safe’ level of warming” and more needs to be done to limit the effects of climate change.
“Scientific research has for decades indicated this limit being too high and would likely mean significant impacts,” the Climate Institute said.
“Climate modelling advances and observations of changes in the years since have increasingly highlighted that even 2 degrees of warming would likely have very serious impacts for many geographies, populations and industries.
“This was reaffirmed in 2015 by a comprehensive assessment of the differences in impacts between 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees, which was undertaken as part of the review of the long-term global goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
Businesses that pursue climate change agendas that ignore the 1.5 degree agenda “are ignoring shifts that are both plausible and foreseeable” and exposes them to higher levels of liability risk, the Climate Institute said.