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1.5 v 2 Degrees Celsius: Why Half a Degree Really Counts

Campaigners and experts in climate science and policy came together to debate how best to tackle the challenge of Earth’s rising temperature.

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The persistent march of a warming climate is perceived as incremental changes. But the greater the change in global temperature, the higher the risk that the cumulative impact of all these changes could cross a tipping point of dramatic and irreversible climate change.

Earth is already one degree hotter than at pre-industrial levels and we are already seeing unprecedented melting of polar ice, wildfires, extreme weather and widespread extinctions. The 2015 Paris Agreement commits nations to limiting the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2 at the very most. If we pass this point, we increase the risk that the Earth’s climate system will change abruptly and for the worse.

But what is the science behind how we model our current trajectory, how do we respond to the urgent threat, and how is climate change affecting communities across the globe already? At this online event, a panel of campaigners and experts in climate science and policy came together to plot out the various scenarios and how best to tackle the challenge.

Speakers include:

  • Anote Tong: Former President of the Republic of Kiribati, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and a world-renowned campaigner against climate change and for ocean conservation
  • Cassidy Kramer: A member of the Alaskan Inupiaq community, enrolled in the Caleb Scholars programme, which advocates for protecting Arctic waters through ancestral knowledge
  • Professor Sir Ghillean Prance FRS, VMH: Botanist, ecologist, former Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, and Visiting Professor at University of Reading
  • Julia King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge: Deputy Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s Low Carbon Business Ambassador and Chair of the Carbon Trust
  • Anushka Asthana (Chair): Editor-at-large for the Guardian, presenter of the Guardian Today in Focus podcast and co-presenter of Peston

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