W hen we are discussing 1.5 Celsius temperature threshold, global target is already has been heading towards the 2° threshold. The question is, where did this come from? what was the original baselines? Right now, many people at the COP 28 conference are talking about 1.5 Celsius. The Goddard Institute of Space Science data shows for 2023 and the argument for data that we were going to reach about 1.54 C this year. What Baseline is that well relative to the 1850 to 1900 Baseline which is the Baseline that basically everybody uses now. We can call that Baseline two because when those 1.5 and 2° C numbers were first thrown about at the Paris conference and in IPCC reports. Before then at least a two-degree number the Baseline was pre-industrial. Pre-industrial was usually the date wasn't given but it is 1750.
The problem is, there is a baseline shift because the temperature in 1750 was lower than the average temperature between 1850 and 1900. The Industrial revolution started in the mid of 1700s. When they started burning coal. Now we did not have so many good ways to measure temperature at that point. Baseline one being 1750 and two being 1850 to 1900 that shift is if we look at the temperature curves, it is 0.2 to. 3 C. Many of us have argued for 0.2. The current augments for 1.5 haven't resolved. World Meteorological organization just put out a new report, that show temperature is at 1.4 plus or minus 0.12. if we add the 0.12, we will get 1.52. so, it is close its within air bounds.
Let's focus on this 1.5. If we asked our leaders, what do they mean by 1.5 threshold? They'll say well 1.5 when the temperature above pre-industrial which they'll say that it's 1850 to 1900. The reality is, temperature reached that already 1.5 for a day or two and actually we passed 2.0 for a few days just recently. Is not that threshold gone? Some of our present leaders might say, well, maybe we need an average of 1.5 above pre-industrial for a month or for half a year or for a year or maybe for 10 years or let's make it 30 years. Now the base line three 1990 to 2000 and we can talk about 1.5 for another bunch of years. Because, the number itself is meaningless without a baseline. Can we create a baseline three? maybe that's will be done at this cop.
BBC just came out with this recent article climate crisis the 1.5c threshold explained and it turns out that they argue some interesting things. It as party of the nation's climate pledge from the climate clock in New York's Union Square in any conversation about climate change the figure 1.5 is rarely far from the discussion as is 2.0. But when people talk about 1.5, most people cannot answer this question. It is the wrong metric we are looking at the Earth Energy imbalance. If we overshoot, it will be able to come back below 1.5 again. These key questions at the beginning of the cop.
The 1.5 Celsius stretch Target in the Paris agreement came as something of a surprise. The Paris agreement would be that ambitious said one of the lead authors of the IPCC special report on 1.5 did a Special Report comparing 1.5 to two. Two was catastrophic compared to 1.5. The damage done at the 1.5 threshold depends on how we get there if we overshoot it and then reduce back the risk are greater than if we just stabilize at 1.5. The peak temperature is also very important. But, have we not passed the 1.5 threshold already? 2023 is on track to be the hottest on record, hottest July, September, the global average daily temperature was more than 1.5c, that is more than the pre-industrial age average. Roughly one-third of the days in 2023 at saying we did hit 1.7 in the last few months which brings up the average.
What would policy makers talk about? We're past 1.5. next target two degrees. Unless we change the Baseline. That we can still talk about 1.5 go to Baseline three. Talking about carbon dioxide removal at huge levels and we don't know how to do that yet.
Is 1.5 the right target? Some argue that it is not the final target. Because of the extreme weather damages that we're seeing today is too high. 1.5 is too high. We need to get back down to one Celsius so that we can always shift the Baseline up. But the climate doesn't care about baselines. It is an artificial thing.
We keep shifting it and not telling people even at 1.5 the risk to crops could lead to Global food crisis and push us past crucial climate tipping points. This is where we're heading. We're heading to Global food crisis. Can we exploit new sources of fossil fuels and still meet the 1.5 target while burning fossil fuels causes more than 75% of the human cause the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions more than 90% of the carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. Fossil fuels produced are more than enough to breach the 1.5 and the two bringing us up to three and four. There is a report by The International Institute for sustainable development, we're looking at 3 degrees by the end of the century. Bill Gates said no chance of 1.5 and that's in 2022 believes Innovation and climate Tech like carbon capture could help us a lot 2022 a number of media out declared that it was time to say goodbye to 1.5.
The leadership from the US and China would help especially from the cop 28 climate Summit well right at the moment Biden and XI are not attending but they had a meeting just before they talked about methane a bit. They didn't talk about climate that much. It was mostly the Middle East and Russia Ukraine. But it is critically important for the US and China to come forward with a strategy. They better do it quickly before Trump takes over the US and gets cancels all the climate work and everything done to address climate change.
Loss and damage funding are talked about. Baseline everybody uses is 1850 to 1900 is the key point this year we're very close to 1.5 above that Baseline the original Baseline one is the year 1750 so add. 2 or3 or 0.14 Celsius depending on which one seems the most plausible right. So that doesn't work in our favor. It means temperature is higher than we were saying. May be the biggest thing coming out of cop is change the Baseline to 1990 to 2000 and then say okay we're good we're 0.65 Celsius we're nowhere near 1.5.
Mohammad Azaz is Chairman of River & Delta Research Centre (RDRC).