What does 1 degree mean

What actually is ... the 1.5 degree target?

We are talking about climate change, the current warming of the earth. The earth's climate has always changed, but never at this speed and so strongly influenced by humans. When we speak of 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, we mean global warming. That doesn't sound like a big difference at first. But maybe it does: if you take into account that the average temperature of our planet is around 14 degrees Celsius. A few degrees more mean a clear difference.

Global warming

So it's not about the fact that Hamburg's summer will be a little nicer and warmer in the future, but about warming the whole earth. The North and South Poles are just as affected by this as cities and regions where people are already suffering from extreme heat. That affects the oceans, the forests and the animals of our planet and directly also us humans.

1.5 degrees - and then?

In its last special report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC for short) examined the consequences of a global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The warming relates to the level before industrialization - since then the earth has warmed up by around one degree. A total of 1.5 degrees of warming would have significant and irreversible consequences such as further melting of the polar ice caps. But we will not be able to limit the global warming to 1.5 degrees - because it is already foreseeable that the climate protection goals will not be achieved. Katja Frieler from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research says: “If we want to meet the climate protection goals, we have to act more consistently. The longer we wait, the greater the risks and the more expensive it becomes. "

Act now

So why the question about 1.5 or 2 degrees? According to scientists, the effects would be considerable even if the temperature was increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius - but not nearly as dramatic as at 2 degrees. And seen globally, the chances of adapting to the changes would be at least slightly better. Nobody can say today whether we will manage it. Only one thing is clear: the faster and the more we do for the climate, the better.