The Big Ask: what does the ‘1.5°C deal’ mean for climate change?

As the world’s scientists unite on a landmark climate change deal for the United Nations, three experts give instant advice for brokering a 1.5C deal for the future

A landmark climate change deal will be signed by 130 countries on April 22 at the United Nations (UN) headuarters in Paris to tackle climate change.

The agreement sets a collective goal of keeping global warming below 2C, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5C. It stresses the importance for all countries to submit plans for climate action and to update them every five years. 

In addition, it was recently announced that the world's scientists will join forces to contribute to a major report produced by the UN in 2022, considering how global temperatures can be restricted to a rise of 1.5c and what the impact might be on sea level rises, the bleaching of corals and biodiversity. 

In anticipation of the world's collaboration on climate change, Vision asks three experts to contribute their views on how the plan for 1.5C will be achieved...

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Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar

Technological advancement is the key to a 1.5°C future. We need breakthroughs in energy efficiency, carbon capture and energy storage for sun and wind power. This will happen by bringing together the brightest minds and the best resources, bolstered by strong leadership.

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Professor Reto Knutti, ETH Zurich

Negative impacts from climate change are already happening, and the Paris Agreement confirmed that 2°C warming is not safe. We now need dramatic mitigation without delay, investments in technology and the political will for solutions. We need to agree how to start, not where to end mitigation.

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Professor Will Steffen, Australian National University

The first universal climate agreement, signed by world leaders in December, signals that the fossil fuel era is over. By committing to keeping global warming keeping global warming to well below 2°C, world leaders have provided a catalyst for what is likely to be the greatest period of technological innovation in the history of humankind. The era of renewable energy is ushered in.