Financial TimesFinancial Times

‘Magic numbers’ are clouding the climate debate

By Anjana Ahuja

20 Sep 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

This article dives into the societal obsession with numbers when it comes to the climate crisis; arguing that action from leaders and more tangible links to people's daily experience are necessary.

Climate change has become an existential crisis of notable exactitude, its parameters mapped out by precise temperature rises, thresholds, deadlines and “tipping points” of no return.

The world should not warm more than 2C above the pre-industrial average; we have until 2030 to keep the rise in check; Earth has already passed the lower temperature thresholds of five out of 16 tipping points, with potentially ruinous consequences for coral reefs, permafrost and polar ice.

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