Since the Paris Agreement was reached, the most commonly reported outcome is the goal to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. However, the more ambitious goal, to limit the increase to 1.5ºC, has received less attention. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report which starkly laid out the likely consequences of global warming of 1.5ºC, and the additional damage that warming of 2ºC could cause.
It is the aim to limit the increase to 1.5ºC that has driven the rush of commitments to be net-zero by 2050.
The report stated that global temperatures have, on average, already risen 1ºC above pre-industrial levels and are currently increasing at 0.2ºC per decade. Therefore, it is likely that an increase of 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels will be reached between 2030 and 2052.2 This report catalysed efforts to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5ºC in the long-term: an ambition which models suggest would require emissions of greenhouse gases to be reduced to net-zero around 2050.3