The 1.5ºC climate objective: A guide for businesses and investors Policy brief

May 19, 2017 - 12:30am

This paper outlines why the 1.5°C objective is important  and what it entails, and it provides key resources for businesses and investors to begin understanding the implications of the 1.5°C objective.

1. How feasible is the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC?  It will be more challenging than limiting warming to less than 2°C, but not signifi cantly so. Many measures required to achieve 1.5°C mitigation are similar in strength to those targeting <2°C. Some then diverge from a <2°C path around 2050; others need to begin sooner and ramp up more quickly. 
 
2. Can 1.5ºC scenarios be credibly modelled today?  Adequate information exists for businesses and investors to begin analysing 1.5°C scenarios.  The lack of an IEA scenario or a clear IPCC-published mitigation pathway for 1.5°C is not a significant barrier to analysing implications of this objective under the Paris Agreement. 
 
3. Why isn’t the <2ºC objective enough?  The <2°C limit does not represent a “safe” level of warming. Limiting warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century will significantly lessen, but not eliminate, the threat of extremely disruptive climate change.
 
4. Why do businesses and investors need to consider 1.5ºC? Businesses that seek to understand and disclose their climate risk without addressing the 1.5°C objective are ignoring shifts that are both plausible and foreseeable. The 1.5°C objective is central to the Paris Agreement and is likely to attract increasing attention from investors, regulators, and those seeking to avoid liability risk. 

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