Can world leaders gathered at the COP27 climate summit still limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Diplomats and world leaders have now gathered in Egypt for the Annual United Nations Climate Summit are responsible, in some sense, for keeping the global average temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. It was one of the key goals around which the 2015 Paris Agreement was formed, and so it became a shortcut to the success of every subsequent climate summit.

Talks in Glasgow last year at COP26 ended with the conference official saying the 1.5C limit is “alive but its pulse is weak”. Ahead of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, UN-backed scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) helped cloud the odds by projecting that the world will likely pass the 1.5C mark in the 2030s. Obituaries for 1.5C followed, even as politicians speaking from the top going on in Egypt did not quite consider him dead.

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Teresa H. Sadler