The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report reveals that the world is on a dangerous track. We're already seeing the effects of climate change in every region on Earth. Without significant emissions reductions, global temperatures could rise well above 4℃ from pre-industrial levels, exposing communities around the world to crippling sea level rise, water shortages, ecosystem degradation, and other impacts.
Yet there's still time to reverse course. The IPCC finds that it is both technically and physically feasible to remain within the world's "carbon budget" and limit temperature rise to 2℃, thus avoiding some of the more disastrous consequences of climate chage. Decreasing emissions can also yield co-benefits like reducing countries vulnerablility to energy price volatility and supply disruptions and curbing air pollution.
Here are four possible climate futures, based on varying levels of emissions and timing of reductions. The pathway we choose today will determine the effects we'll see tomorrow.
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