While current mainstream projections suggest a 3-4 °C temperature increase, this paper asserts that even a 2 °C increase—a target accepted in global discussions—could be more dangerous than originally understood. This paper predicts that current carbon emissions targets will lead to long-lasting, irreversible damage to the planet. As a result, the authors are calling for cohesive, unified action to reduce fossil fuel emissions to pre-Industrial Era levels.
The paper, written by lead author James Hansen and a diverse list of colleagues, is dedicated to Paul Epstein, our late Associate Director. The acknowledgements note that Dr. Epstein was “a fervent defender of the health of humans and the environment, who graciously provided important inputs to this paper while battling late stages of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”