Scientists have issued a warning that the regulations outlined in the Paris Agreement will not be enough to prevent the collapse of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
According to the Paris Agreement drafted in 2015, countries agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 dCC than pre-industrial levels.
But a new report from the University of Vitoria and the Universite Libre de Bruxelles has been published Climate change of nature They found that the two ice sheets may have sloping points or slightly above the 1.5-2degC limit.
Professor Tim Naish of the University of Wellington in Victoria says the report is "extremely timely taking into account the recent publication of the IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5degC, and especially because we are about 1.5degC."
"Without a degree of direct carbon extraction from the atmosphere, it is unlikely to be avoided," he says.
If the ice sheets collapse, the report says it could lead to the irreversible loss of mass and drain basins. The impact of rising sea levels would be catastrophic for New Zealand.
The promise of New Zealand under the Paris Agreement is to reduce emissions by 30 percent below levels from 2005 to 2030. Last year it was revealed that the cost to the New Zealand economy of meeting the objectives of the Paris agreement will be 1,400 million dollars every year for a decade.
"We are very close to causing an irreversible change in the polar ice sheets of the Earth," says Professor Christine Hulbe of the University of Otago, commenting on the new report.
"The threshold for irreversible ice loss in both Greenland and Antarctica is between 1.5 and one centigrade of global global warming. We are already a little over 1 hour of heating.
"Even if we met the objectives of Paris and we keep control of the warming, we are still committed to the continued loss of ice throughout the 21st century and with it continued the rise in sea levels."
Rob McKay of the University of Victoria of Wellington points out that the merger differs between the hemispheres, with the fusion of Greenland controlled by atmospheric warming and Antarctica due to ocean warming.
But the temperature limit to reach these inclining points in both regions is between 1.5 to 2 ° C, according to him, "it suggests that even if we meet the objectives of the Paris climate agreement, we will be extremely close to the point of No return for an accelerated retreat.
"Although this melting will extend for hundreds to thousands of years, it is clear that as we exceed the 1.5degC objective, the faster this accelerated layer of ice will be."
The researchers concluded that urgent investigation on the subject is required to better improve future projections.