Jim Skea, the new head of the UN's IPCC, said it's not helpful to imply that a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius is an existential threat to humanity. He calls for a balanced approach to the climate change debate.
via DW.com, 3 August 2023
The newly appointed head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jim Skea, spoke to two major German news outlets over the weekend, soon after his appointment to the role.
Speaking to weekly magazine Der Spiegel, in an interview first published on Saturday, Skea warned against laying too much value on the international community's current nominal target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared the pre-industrial era.
"We should not despair and fall into a state of shock" if global temperatures were to increase by this amount, he said.
In a separate discussion with German news agency DPA, Skea expanded on why.
"If you constantly communicate the message that we are all doomed to extinction, then that paralyzes people and prevents them from taking the necessary steps to get a grip on climate change," he said.
"The world won't end if it warms by more than 1.5 degrees," Skea told Der Spiegel. "It will however be a more dangerous world."
Surpassing that mark would lead to many problems and social tensions, he said, but still that would not constitute an existential threat to humanity.
The international community's stated target is currently to limit global warming to the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, even though UN estimates suggest that the current commitments made by countries are actually likely to fall far short of their nominal goal.