Sensitive regions of the world are still at risk from potentially irreversible effects of climate change, a new study has suggested.
The research, by The Open University, indicates that this could be the case even if the target of not increasing global temperature above 1.5°C over the next 100 years is met.
Studied in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, the international team of researchers studied the targets set in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and concluded that particular regions of the world, such as the Arctic and South-East Asian monsoon region, could be damaged irreversibly as they are especially sensitive to changes to global temperatures.
As part of their research, the scientists developed a three-dimensional climate-carbon cycle model, and simulated the different climate futures.
The study's lead, Dr Philip Holden, who is a lecturer in Earth Systems Science at The Open University, said: "The regional uncertainties associated with the Paris Climate Agreement have not been explored before. This is because, until now, researchers have used either very simple models or models that were too complex to investigate the range of possibilities."
However, their findings weren't all doom and gloom. The research also concluded that meeting the target of limiting the increase in global average temperatures to below 2°C does not depend on future generations to remove vast amounts of carbon from the Earth's atmosphere.
Instead, they found that governments can achieve the goals through emission reductions. Although this will only work if they act now, the scientists said, and promote a range of policies to fully support the existing pace of technological change.
"Our models show that it is possible to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement, but only if governments take decisive and urgent action through strengthening climate change policies to encourage rapid divestment from fossil fuels," added Dr Holden.
Professor Richard Wilkinson from the University of Sheffield's School of Mathematics and Statistics (SoMaS) and contributor to the research added that there is an approximate 50 per cent probability that we can limit peak post-industrial peak global warming to less than 1.6 degrees Celsius.
"This has been made possible by using Gaussian process emulation to find plausible climate trajectories at a fraction of the computational cost," he said.
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