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UMD Study: Paris Climate Goal Out of Reach, but Peak Warming Can Be Curbed

By Maryland Today Staff

While the world is unlikely to meet the Paris Agreement goal of capping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in this century, it can adopt climate strategies that limit the amount of time spent above that threshold, potentially cutting it by decades, according to a new study by University of Maryland researchers and colleagues.

The paper published today in Nature Climate Change was led by Gokul Iyer and Haewon McJeon, associate research scholars at UMD’s Center for Global Sustainability (CGS), and joint appointees with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. CGS Director Nathan Hultman and CGS Senior Fellow Jae Edmonds were also authors on the report, released during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The 27 models studied for the paper confirm that surpassing 1.5 degrees is inevitable, but encouragingly, puts forth several pathways to reduce exposure to disastrous climate change and irreversible damage to the environment and human societies.

To limit global peak temperature changes this century, one message is clear, the researchers say: Countries need to increase climate ambition over the next eight years by ratcheting up their 2030 pledges made one year ago at COP26 in Glasgow. This strategy could also help major economies transition to clean energy more quickly by laying the institutional groundwork for phasing out of fossil fuels and the development and deployment of the technology needed for the transition to succeed.

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