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Zero In On: A new generation of climate models, COVID-19 and the Paris Agreement

Our new report, which can be found at https://constrain-eu.org/news/zero-in-on-report-2/, shows how COVID-19 gives us a chance to slow down global warming and avoid the most dangerous climate change through a green economic recovery. We must seize this opportunity to reset our climate future.

Climate Change and Environment

With global temperatures now almost 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C in line with the Paris Agreement means taking urgent and decisive global action. Without it, and especially as COVID-19 has had virtually no direct impact on the climate, we still face the prospect of rising temperatures and more extreme climate impacts. But our new report shows that slowing down global warming can be combined with tackling the economic crisis caused by COVID-19: a green recovery could cut the rate of temperature rise by up to half, giving us vital time and space over the next few decades to plan for and adjust to whatever impacts do come our way. It would also give us a good chance of staying within 1.5˚C of warming, and meeting the Paris Agreement. The report showcases recent work by the CONSTRAIN project, an international research consortium including many Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) authors. CONSTRAIN has been using the latest climate science to see how, as the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we can still avoid dangerous climate territory. Combining model results with real-world measurements of natural climate variability shows that cutting emissions hard and fast as part of a green economic recovery, investing 1.2% of GDP in green technologies and industries, whilst refusing to bail out fossil fuel companies, can both halve global emissions by 2030, and slow down global warming by up to half its current rate in coming decades. This would not only get us on track for net-zero by mid-century but also give us a good chance of keeping temperature rise below 1.5°C. We often focus on the total amount of warming we might end up with, but the latest climate models have helped us to see that strong and decisive climate action can also cut warming rates in the near future, allowing more time and space to cope with any inevitable climate impacts as we get on track to meet the Paris Agreement. The full report is: CONSTRAIN (2020) ZERO IN ON: A new generation of climate models, COVID-19 and the Paris Agreement. The CONSTRAIN Project Annual Report 2020, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.4282461. Access the report at https://constrain-eu.org/news/zero-in-on-report-2/ For additional information please contact constrain@leeds.ac.uk. Find us on twitter @constrain_eu and on LinkedIn @ CONSTRAIN EU

Keywords

COVID, climate, cmip6, green recovery