Scientists say 15% carbon emissions cut needed

Nov 30, 2012
A picture taken by NASA's Aqua satellite on September 3, 2010 shows the Arctic sea ice. The chances of hitting the UN's global warming target are diminishing, but the goal can still be met if greenhouse-gas emissions fall by 15 percent by 2020, scientists said on Friday.

The chances of hitting the UN's global warming target are diminishing, but the goal can still be met if greenhouse-gas emissions fall by 15 percent by 2020, scientists said on Friday.

In a study issued at the world in Doha, they cautioned against mounting that the UN's objective of curbing warming to a safer two degrees Celsius (3.6 ) is now out of reach.

"Limiting global warming below 2C, or even to below 1.5C, remains technically and economically feasible, but only with political ambitions backed by rapid action starting now," the team said.

"If nothing more is done except the current pledges, costs would be much higher to reach deeper reductions necessary, and/or the damage from would be far greater."

In the runup to the 12-day UN talks which opened in Qatar on Monday, the World Bank gave a 20-percent likelihood of a 4C (7.2 F) rise by 2100 and said a 3C (5.4 F) rise appeared likely. Separately, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) forecast a rise of 3-5C (5.4-9.0F) on the basis of current pledges.

"The window for reversing emission trends is rapidly narrowing," the " Action Tracker" report issued on Friday said.

"Emissions must be reduced by roughly 15 percent from present levels by 2020 to be on a pathway holding warming below 2C" by 2100.

Delegates arrive for the second day of the 18th United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Doha on November 27. In a study issued at the world climate talks in Doha, scientists cautioned against mounting pessimism that the UN's objective of curbing warming to a safer two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is now out of reach.

At present, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, blamed for damaging the planet's fragile , are scaling new peaks.

Levels of carbon dioxide—the single most important man-made contributor to climate change—rose to 390.9 parts per million in 2011, which is 2.0 ppm higher than in 2010, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Tuesday.

From 1990 to 2011, the warming effect of has risen 30 percent, it said.

Scrutinising the actions of the four major emitters, the "Climate Action Tracker" said neither China, the United States, the European Union nor Russia were making adequate pledges to tackle their pollution.

But—with the exception of the United States—the pledges that they have made are likely to be met, it said.

China has surged in rankings to become the world's No.1 carbon polluter, voraciously burning coal to fuel its rise out of poverty.

Right now, China is on track for emissions in 2020 of 14.4 gigatonnes, or billion tonnes, of CO2 or its equivalent, said the report.

But—according to China's just-unveiled official plans—this "business-as-usual" figure will fall by 4.5 gigatonnes to 9.9 gigatonnes under an ambitious energy-efficiency programme.

"If accurate, this would be the largest single absolute reduction for any country in the history of action on ," said the report.

"By comparison, the emissions of the European Union in 2010 were 4.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent."

The "Climate Action Tracker" is a regularly updated report compiled by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany; a non-profit German science and policy research organisation called Climate Analytics; and Ecofys, a European consultancy on renewable energy and carbon efficiency.

Explore further: Australians rally for climate, including at G20 talks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

World 'heading for 3.5 C warming': study

Dec 06, 2011

Current pledges for curbing carbon emissions will doom the world to global warming of 3.5 C, massively overshooting the UN target of 2 C, researchers reported at the climate talks here on Tuesday.

Planet 'far away' on climate goals: study

Oct 04, 2011

The world remains far away from meeting UN-backed goals on holding back climate change, setting the stage for major damage without more ambitious efforts to cut emissions, a study said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Tens of thousands join London climate march

17 minutes ago

Tens of thousands of people in London joined a global day of protest Sunday to demand action on climate change, among them British actress Emma Thompson who said the challenge to save the planet was like ...

UN summit to test commitment to climate fund

20 minutes ago

A global fund created to spearhead climate change financing faces a key test at a UN summit this week when it looks to the leaders of the industrialised world to stump up billions of dollars to fill its underflowing ...

Green dream: Can UN summit revive climate issue?

Sep 20, 2014

Five years ago, the environment movement was in its heyday as politicians, actors, rock stars and protestors demanded a looming UN summit brake the juggernaut of climate change.

User comments : 0