Journal article

The Inequality of Climate Change From 1.5 to 2°C of Global Warming

AD King, LJ Harrington

Geophysical Research Letters | American Geophysical Union | Published : 2018


The Paris Agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2°C above preindustrial levels with a preferred ambitious 1.5°C target. Developing countries, especially small island nations, pressed for the 1.5°C target to be adopted, but who will suffer the largest changes in climate if we miss this target? Here we show that exceeding the 1.5°C global warming target would lead to the poorest experiencing the greatest local climate changes. Under these circumstances greater support for climate adaptation to prevent poverty growth would be required.

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes

Awarded by ARC DECRA fellowship

Awarded by European Research Council (ERC)

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank the Editor for handling our submission and Joeri Rogelj and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments through the review process. Andrew King was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (grant CE 170100023) and an ARC DECRA fellowship (DE180100638). Luke Harrington acknowledges support from the Transition into the Anthropocene (TITAN) project, funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (EC-320691). We thank the NCI National Facility in Australia for providing computing support and access to the CMIP5 data. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Program's Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups for producing and making available their model output (listed in Table S1 of this paper). For CMIP the U.S. Department of Energy's Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals through which the data used here are available. The population and GDP data grids used in this analysis and based on recent estimates and the future SSPs are available from