Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reaching 2009 international climate change goals will require aggressive measures

Date:
December 2, 2012
Source:
Appalachian State University
Summary:
Despite an international consensus reached in 2009 to limit climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, scientists say the likelihood of meeting that goal is diminishing. The Global Carbon Project’s most recent analysis by scientists from the United States, Norway, Australia, France and the United Kingdom shows that a global economy fueled with coal, oil and natural gas is putting increasing pressure on the global climate system.

Despite an international consensus reached in 2009 to limit climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, scientists say the likelihood of meeting that goal is diminishing.

The Global Carbon Project's most recent analysis by scientists from the United States, Norway, Australia, France and the United Kingdom published in the current issue of the journal Nature Climate Change shows that a global economy fueled with coal, oil and natural gas is putting increasing pressure on the global climate system.

"Limiting global climate change and all of its consequences is going to require aggressive actions to limit the use of the fossil fuels," according to Gregg Marland, one of the authors of the paper in Nature Climate Change. Marland, a research professor with Appalachian State University's Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics, is part of the international team analyzing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

The report titled "The challenge to keep global warming below 2 °C" was written by Glen P. Peters and Robbie M. Andrew, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Norway; Tom Boden, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Josep G. Canadell and Michael R. Raupach, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Australia; Philippe Ciais, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, France; Corinne Le Quéré and Charlie Wilson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom; and Marland.

During the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, the world's nations agreed to try to limit climate change to a 2 degree Celsius increase in global average surface temperature. This would require limiting the amount of carbon dioxide (the most important human-made greenhouse gas) put into the atmosphere from burning coal, oil and natural gas and clearing forests.

However, comparison of the amount of carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere by humans in recent years with many scenarios of future emissions, including the limits required to hold climate change below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), shows that there is not yet any tendency to approach the desired targets.

Growth in carbon dioxide emissions was slowed briefly around 2009 by the global financial crisis, but growth in the global economy since then has been accompanied by growth in carbon dioxide emissions.

"Fossil fuels play a very central role in global economic development but raise serious implications for the Earth's climate," Marland said. "With a growing global population and consumption-oriented economic growth, it is hard to be optimistic about the changing global climate system."

According to the GCP study, carbon dioxide emissions rose 3 percent in 2011 to 9.5 billion metric tons of carbon and are expected to increase a further 2.6 percent by the end of 2012. From 2000 to 2011, emissions have grown at an average of 3.1 percent per year. If this emission growth continues, the global mean temperature is likely to increase by more than 5 degrees Celsius in 2100.

Global carbon dioxide emissions continue to track the high end of a range of emission scenarios, expanding the gap between current emission trends and the emission pathway required to keep the global-average temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius.

It is now likely that in the longer term there will be a need to rely on technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as carbon capture and storage connected to bioenergy, if the temperature increase is to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius, according to the GCP report.

"We are effectively relying on technologies that are yet to be developed and this leads to persistent uncertainties on how much they can contribute to future mitigation," said lead author of the study Glen Peters of CICERO, a climate research institute in Norway.

"The continued economic troubles in the developed world have led to reduced emissions, but this is more than compensated by strong emissions growth in fast-growing economies such as China," he said.

The GCP study shows that carbon emissions in 2011 were 54 percent above 1990 levels.

Chinese emissions grew 10 percent in 2011, or more than 200 million metric tons of carbon, which is as much as Germany emits in one year. China is emitting almost as much as the European Union on a per capita basis, about 36 percent higher than the global average per capita emissions.

In 1990, developing countries accounted for 35 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, but in 2011 this was 58 percent.

"Each year of increased emissions makes a two degree target harder to achieve. The only feasible way to keep below two degrees is global reductions in emissions and this can only happen if the top emitters in the developed and developing world have deep and sustained mitigation," Peters said.

Note that values reported here are in billion metric tons of carbon. To convert emissions to billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, multiply the values by 3.67.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Appalachian State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Glen P. Peters, Robbie M. Andrew, Tom Boden, Josep G. Canadell, Philippe Ciais, Corinne Le Quéré, Gregg Marland, Michael R. Raupach, Charlie Wilson. The challenge to keep global warming below 2 °C. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1783

Cite This Page:

Appalachian State University. "Reaching 2009 international climate change goals will require aggressive measures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121202164026.htm>.
Appalachian State University. (2012, December 2). Reaching 2009 international climate change goals will require aggressive measures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121202164026.htm
Appalachian State University. "Reaching 2009 international climate change goals will require aggressive measures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121202164026.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) — Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

AFP (Aug. 25, 2014) — A factory in the industrial state of Sao Paulo produces genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue, a deadly tropical disease more prevalent in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Prime Minister at Japan Landslide Site

Raw: Prime Minister at Japan Landslide Site

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima on Monday as rescuers expanded their search for dozens still missing from landslides around the western Japanese city that killed at least 50 people. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins