Climate change might not be as extreme as once presumed, a new study has found.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia have discovered that previous estimates for the severity of global warming that stemmed from coal usage might not be realistic.
Instead, they say - based on new methods of predicting what the environment will look like at the end of this century - that we are much closer to reaching goals outlined at the Paris Climate Accord than was previously believed.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have now claimed that previous predictions made about the state of global warming in 2100 were not accurate. They say that they rely on unrealistic estimates (file photo)
WHAT ARE THE KEY GOALS OF THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT?
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals with regards to reducing emissions:
1) A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
2) To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change
3) Goverments agreed on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries
4) To undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science
Source: European Commission
The study's authors, Justin Ritchie and Hadi Dowlatabadi, warned that traditional climate change predictions are not necessarily realistic.
The report says: 'Climate change modeling relies on projections of future greenhouse gas emissions and other phenomena leading to changes in planetary radiative forcing.'
It then details the methods by which predictions about what is to come at the end of the century are developed, and, explains the alternative methods the researchers think should be used to make these predictions.
'Scenarios of socio-technical development consistent with end-of-century forcing levels are commonly produced by integrated assessment models.
'However, outlooks for forcing from fossil energy combustion can also be presented and defined in terms of two essential components: total energy use this century and the carbon intensity of that energy.'
This method allowed the researchers to come up with multiple possible outcomes based on scenarios that depict realistic estimations of the amount of coal that will be burned in the coming years.
According to their findings, climate change goals are much closer than we think to becoming a reality.
'This orientation runs counter to the experienced "dynamics as usual" of gradual decarbonization, suggesting climate change targets outlined in the Paris Accord are more readily achievable than projected to date,' the study said.
While their findings are hopeful, they don't signify an end to the severity of man-made global warming side effects.
The scientists think that we are much closer to reaching goals laid out at the Paris Climate Accord than was previously believed. Above is a graph from their study, which predicts that humans will use significantly less coal before 2100 than previous scientists estimated
As Bloomberg pointed out: 'The bad news is that this is good news in the way a destabilizing climate-shift is preferable to planetary extinction: We are still in a lot of trouble.'
The hope of the study is that if policymakers learn of the findings and explore their validity, they will be encouraged to focus resources toward lessening the effects of global warming since the issue will be less severe than they once imagined.
The researchers explained this notion in their study, which said: 'Evidence confirming steady-state and recarbonization scenarios as unlikely would also indicate that ambitious policy goals will be less challenging than previously considered.'