Only ‘eight years left’ to avert 1.5°C warming, Thunberg tells Davos forum

(EurActiv, 22 Jan 2020) Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg called on Tuesday (21 January) for far tougher action to limit climate change, telling the World Economic Forum in Davos the world has just eight years left to avert severe warming. EURACTIV’s media partner Climate Home News reports.

Thunberg, 17, speaking on a Davos panel with three other youth delegates from around the world, also expressed doubts that the world could develop technologies in coming decades to suck carbon dioxide from thin air to limit rising temperatures.

“A lot,” she said, when asked what she wanted in the coming year or so. “Especially that we start listening to the science and that we treat this crisis as the crisis it is.”

Governments are due to meet in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, seeking to ratchet up the ambition of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The deal aims to limit warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, while pursuing efforts for a tougher ceiling of 1.5°C.

Thunberg said there was only eight years left at current levels of emissions to keep temperatures below 1.5°C. Average global temperatures are about 1.1°C above pre-industrial times, according to the United Nations. And the rise is causing more extreme weather, such as heatwaves, wildfires and rising sea levels.

Climate change is a top priority at the Davos meeting for policymakers and business leaders although US President Donald Trump, who is also attending, is pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement. He frequently doubts mainstream climate science.

Extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters top most likely risks to the global economy in 2020, according to the survey for the World Economic Forum among business leaders, investors and policy-makers.

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EurActiv, 22 Jan 2020: Only ‘eight years left’ to avert 1.5°C warming, Thunberg tells Davos forum