Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Global Carbon Project: Immediate Action Required to Stay Within Acceptable Upper Temperature Limits

Global emissions of carbon dioxide were at a record high in 2011 and are likely to keep on growing in 2012 and beyond unless we act now. According to a December 2, 2012 article published in Nature Climate Change, researchers affiliated with the Global Carbon Project came to the conclusion that it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will be able to keep temperatures within acceptable upper limits. Emissions continue to grow so quickly that without immediate action it is unlikely that we can stay within the 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) upper temperature limit established by scientists three years ago.

As reported in the New York Times, Josep G. Canadell, one of the scientists who worked on the report, said in a statement that salvaging the goal, if it can be done at all, “requires an immediate, large and sustained global mitigation effort.” However, we have not yet seen evidence that nations around the world are prepared to honor their commitment to limit warming.

Emissions are falling slowly in some developed nations, but this is partly due to the state of the economy and the transfer of some manufacturing to developing countries. While emissions may be falling is some developed countries, emissions from coal fired plants in developing nations like China and India are growing dramatically.

“If we’re going to run the world on coal, we’re in deep trouble,” said Gregg H. Marland, a scientist at Appalachian State University who has tracked emissions for decades.

Despite global agreement that emissions must be reduced, emissions jumped 3 percent in 2011 and are expected to jump and additional 2.6 percent in 2012.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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