Rapid action to slash fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas pollution could save tens of thousands of glaciers and prevent about an inch of sea level rise, a study published Thursday in Science finds. Even if global temperature increase, mainly caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, is limited to the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5°C (2.7°F) over preindustrial levels, 104,000 of the world’s more than 215,000 will melt completely, raising sea levels by just under 4 inches.
“Any reduction in the temperature increase will have a substantial impact on sea-level rise and the loss of glaciers globally,” David Rounce, a Carnegie Mellon glaciology and engineering professor and lead author of the study, told the Washington Post. “No matter what, we’re going to lose a lot of the glaciers,” he told the AP. “But we have the ability to make a difference by limiting how many glaciers we lose.” (Washington Post $, AP, The Guardian, CNN, NPR, Axios, The Independent, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, AFP; Climate Signals background: Glacier and ice sheet melt)