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FMI chief: Paris 1.5 degree goal unrealistic

Many countries at the Paris climate summit opted to pursue a maximum global warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of the originally proposed 2-3 degrees. Finnish Meteorological Institute director Petteri Taalas says the goal is not an easy one to reach.

Petteri Taalas
Image: Yle

Chief of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Petteri Taalas went on Yle's morning show to discuss the Paris climate summit. He said that the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal for an overall global warming upper limit will not be easy to reach.

"Honestly it isn't very realistic," Taalas said. "But it's good that decision-makers are prepared to challenge the nearly 3-degree rise at which current measures would see warming halt."

The Paris accord would set the task of stopping global warming at a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise in the global average temperature compared with the pre-industrial era. The target is ambitious, as the global average has already risen by nearly a whole degree.

Taalas warned viewers that the next 50 years will be a time of strife in terms of climate change.

"We can already see some serious side effects of global warming. Extreme weather conditions and their consequences have been recorded around the planet."

Nonetheless, Taalas said that leaders still have the opportunity to affect the prospects for the year 2060.

"Letting the average reach +2 degrees would lead to more adverse effects than today. If we surpass that limit we will see considerably more in sea level rising, heat waves, flooding, powerful storm systems and disruptions in the world's food production," he said.

Taalas said he is nevertheless optimistic, and believes that a climate accord will be reached in Paris, whatever its eventual specific goal.

Talks tense in final phase

Senior researcher Antto Vihma from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs says that the atmosphere at the Paris talks is tense.

"This is the moment when the final details are being agreed upon. It's normal for tensions to be a little high," Vihma said on TV1.

"There are still a handful of key questions the countries are debating. Next we will see how far China and India are willing to go. We're also waiting to see if the United States will stay with the deal, as long their financial obligations aren't too high."

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