1.5°C – dead or alive? The risks to transformational change from reaching and breaching the Paris Agreement goal
The historical failure to sufficiently tackle the climate and ecological crisis could create consequences that challenge the ability of societies to tackle the root causes of this crisis.
This is a doom loop: the consequences of the crisis and the failure to address it draw focus and resources from tackling its causes. We describe this as a ‘strategic risk’ to our collective ability to realise a transformation of societies that ultimately avoids catastrophic climate and ecological change.
This dangerous dynamic extends to how prospects for tackling the climate and ecological crisis are framed. We explore a key example: the growing debate over whether it is now inevitable that global heating will breach the internationally agreed goal of 1.5°C.
A systematic effort is needed to tackle threats and grasp opportunities for rapid environmental action thrown up by the deepening consequences of the crisis: to make the green transition itself more resilient. Otherwise, the world could head further into a spiral of accelerating environmental shocks and counterproductive, defensive reactions.