The impacts avoided with a 1.5C climate target: a global and regional assessment

Nigel W. Arnell, Jason A. Lowe, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Timothy J. Osborn

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The 2015 Paris Agreement commits countries to pursue efforts to limit the increase in global mean temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. We assess the consequences of achieving this target in 2100 for the impacts that are avoided, using several indicators of impact (exposure to drought, river flooding, heatwaves, and demands for heating and cooling energy). The proportion of impacts that are avoided is not simply equal to the proportional reduction in temperature. At the global scale, the median proportion of projected impacts avoided by the 1.5C target relative to a rise of 4C ranges between 62% and 95% across sectors: the greatest reduction is for heatwave impacts. The 1.5C target results in impacts that would be between 27% and 62% lower than with the 2C target. For each indicator there are differences in the proportions of impacts avoided between regions depending on exposure and the regional changes in climate (particularly precipitation). Uncertainty in the proportion of impacts that are avoided for a specific sector depends on the range in the shape of the relationship between global temperature change and impact, and this varies between sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61–76
Number of pages16
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number1-2
Early online date6 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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