Paris : 1.5C warming target won't prevent mass suffering, say the experts. Curbing global heating at 1.5 degrees Celsius will avert runaway climate change but not mass suffering in developing nations, a consortium of 50 researchers warned recently.

Some 200 million people in poorer regions will be exposed to unbelievable heat, and half a billion will face the destructive ravages of rising seas even if the world meets the more optimistic Paris target of a 1.5C cap, they reported in a major study.

IF EXPOSING large swathes of humanity to ''significant harm is to be avoided, the just boundary should be set at or below 1C,'' the scientists said.

The Earth's average surface temperature has already risen to 1.2C.

These are sobering conclusions because greenhouse gas emissions remain at record levels, and current policies are on track to see a 2.7C of warming by century's end.

We are ''putting the stability and resilience of the entire planet at risk,'' said Johan Rockstrom, lead author of the new study.

The scientists say atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide must also be cut by a sixth, with the world's richest one percent emitting twice as much as the poorest 50 percent, the study noted.

Rockstrom is among the originators of the concept of ''planetary boundaries'' - red lines that must not be crossed.

In 2009 he and his colleagues identified nine such boundaries and said we had already stepped outside the safe zone of three : planet-warming gases in the air, accelerating species extinction, and an excess of nitrogen and phosphorus in the environment [ mostly from fertiliser ].

TODAY we have breached three more : deforestation, overuse of fresh water, and the omnipresence of synthetic chemicals, including plastics.

Outdoor particle pollution, which shortens more than four million lives every year, could be added this year to the list of our transgressions, and ocean acidification may not be far behind.

'' The Earth system is in danger - many tipping elements are about to cross their tipping points,'' said co-author Dahe Qin, director of the Chinese Academy of Science's influential Academic Committee. [AFP]


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