In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that sent shock waves around the globe. The world's leading body of climate scientists warned that there might be only 12 years left to ensure global warming is kept to a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Beyond that, the IPCC said, the risk of droughts, floods and extreme heat greatly increase.

"Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society," the report said.

The 1.5 degree figure represents the ideal goal under the 2015 Paris climate change agreement. Nations pledged to respond to the threat of global warming by "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels."