Reference to 1.5 degrees in COP decisions

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Date produced: 09/12/2014

Could you please gather various mentions of the 1.5 degree target in various UNFCCC documents? Some say 2 degree OR 1.5 degree whilst others refer to it as ‘with reference to’,’ leading towards’ etc. What would be the best way of capturing this without using “OR”?

Advice:

 The long-term global goal is currently 2oC degrees, but may be strengthened to 1.5oC according to the 2013-2015 review and the best available scientific knowledge, as stated in Decision 1/CP.16:

“4. Further recognizes that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required according to science, and as documented in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change, with a view to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C above pre- industrial levels, and that Parties should take urgent action to meet this long-term goal, consistent with science and on the basis of equity; also recognizes the need to consider, in the context of the first review, as referred to in paragraph 138 below, strengthening the long-term global goal on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge, including in relation to a global average temperature rise of 1.5 °C”;

After this, other decisions, such as decision 1/CP.18 in Doha, used a similar language:

“VII. Review: further definition of its scope and development of its modalities

(…)

Also recalling decision 1/CP.16, in particular paragraph 4, which recognized the need to consider strengthening the long-term global goal of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge, including in relation to a global average temperature rise of 1.5°C.”

In this sense, a possible read of the long-term global temperature goal currently is that it is “2°C, also recognizing the need to revisit this goal in the context of the best available scientific knowledge, including in relation to a global average temperature rise of 1.5°C “.

A shorter wording could be “2°C leading towards 1.5°C according to (in the light of/in the view of/based on) the best available scientific knowledge“. Even shorter would be to say “2°C TO 1.5°C based on the best available scientific knowledge”.