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What is the "2°C Target"?

The 2°C target was first put forward by European Union (EU) in 1996 based on the impact studies of the 2nd Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 1995. During the 1939th Council Meeting held in Luxembourg in 1996, EU indicated that the global mean surface temperature increase should not exceed 2°C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the risk of severe climate change impacts on human and ecological systems. The 2°C increase above pre-industrial levels corresponds to a .4°C increase above 1990-2000 levels. The estimated temperature rise in 1990-2000 relative to the pre-industrial levels (1750s or 1850s) is about 0.6°C.

This threshold was later adopted by some other countries and widely cited by many researchers, green groups and organizations as the target ceiling of global warming.