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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Webinar: Stories of 1.5°C: Dead or alive?

High profile voices are arguing that the global goal of limiting climate change to 1.5° C is already lost. Yet, limiting to 1.5°C is still physically possible and according to the UN requires a ‘rapid and systemic transformation’ of societies globally.

The growing debate over the prospects for 1.5°C is partly about possibilities for transformation, how societies could handle the severe consequences of reaching and potentially breaching 1.5°C and how policymaking should change going forward. Debating this are those who think that the shock of losing 1.5°C could be a wake-up call to stimulate faster change. Or those who think that transformational change is clearly not possible and a different strategy is needed. Or those who think mainstream narratives on the possibilities for 1.5°C are still the best motivator for rapid decarbonization. 

In all cases, vested interests can exploit these narratives to argue falsely that transformation isn’t possible or desirable, rapid emissions reductions are not needed, and that vast negative emissions and solar geo-engineering are the primary means by which the world can avoid catastrophe. This is occurring within the wider context of ‘predatory delay’: the purposeful, decades-long manipulation of narratives on the climate and ecological crisis by those who wish to delay or block transformational change and deter rapid decarbonization and restoration of nature. 

We face a bind. Rapid and equitable change is needed to avoid climate and ecological catastrophe but isn’t yet being delivered under mainstream narratives and policies. Yet alternatives highlighting the growing likelihood of missing the 1.5°C goal come with the risk of being exploited by ‘climate delayers’. 

At this event, we will hear from:

  • Laurie Laybourn, Associate Fellow, IPPR and Visiting Fellow, Chatham House Sustainability Accelerator
  • Dr James Dyke, Associate Professor, Earth System Science, University of Exeter
  • Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development
  • Attracta Mooney, Climate Correspondent, the Financial Times
  • Ana Yang, Executive Director, Chatham House Sustainability Accelerator

This event is part of the Cohort 2040 project, which seeks to help millennial and younger generations develop the transformational leadership needed to secure a better world even as environmental destabilization grows. Watch the recording below.