Scientists Argue for a New Type of Climate Target

Scientists Argue for a New Type of Climate Target

ScienceDaily (Dec. 28, 2009) — A warming rate of more than 0.2 °C per decade is intolerable if the earth’s ecosystems are to adapt, according to The German Advisory Council on Global Change. CICERO scientists adopted this rate and calculated that in order not to exceed it, cumulative emissions in the period 2010-2030 must not exceed approximately 190 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC).

“The implications are that global emissions must peak around 2015*** (see note below) and be cut by roughly half between the peak and the year 2030,” Steffen Kallbekken, scientist at CICERO, said.

In a new paper in Nature Reports Climate Change, Steffen Kallbekken, Nathan Rive, Glen P. Peters and Jan S. Fuglestvedt from CICERO Center for International Climate and Environmental Research — Oslo, argue for a new type of climate target to be considered:

“Focusing climate policy on a long-term target, such as the EU 2-degree target, provides limited guidance for mitigation over the next few decades, and gives the impression that there is time to delay,” said Kallbekken.

The researchers propose that, in addition to a long-term cumulative emissions budget, a maximum limit on the rate of warming should also be considered as an element in the design of climate policies.

Required mitigation rates are 4-8 percent per year, which far exceeds anything achieved in history.

“A short-term target provides clearer guidance on mitigation in the near term, limits potentially dangerous rates of warming, and allows easier inclusion of potent and toxic short-lived climate components,” Kallbekken said.

“A short-term cumulative emissions target, for example 190 GtC for the period 2010-2030, is a useful approach to limit the rate of warming, while at the same time keeping the focus on what matters in the long term: reducing CO2 emissions.”

***Note from CACC:

We peaked already! Global emissions for 2009 are down 3% on 2008 which is down 6% on projected emissions (International Energy Agency Nov 2009)

So why on Earth would we want them to rise again for several years? We need not and must not delay any more years to peaking.

Today’s atmospheric CO2 concentration is the highest in the past one million years (Global Carbon Project) and probability the past 20 million years (NOAA) The rate of CO2 increase is 14,000 times anything ever recorded in geologic history. (J Hansen) Every year we delay peaking we add more than 8.5 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere.

As 20% of all CO2 emissions last in the atmosphere 1000 years delaying peaking is asking for runaway climate change.

Attached is the Nov 09 Global Carbon Project carbon budget – which was not (to my knowledge) but should have been tabled at COP15 as it is internationally recognized. In the first graph attached it shows that the Unites States & Australia budget (& I will assume Canada) for carbon emissions until 2050 will be used up by 2019. (Meanwhile – CAN states need to peak within eight years!)

carbon budget 2010-2050.jpg


See Also:

Earth & Climate



~ by Cory Morningstar on January 3, 2010.

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