Emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases must eventually fall to zero to stabilize the global climate, according to scientists leading the biggest international climate science conference prior to the Paris UN COP meeting in December. But they also indicate cautious optimism that growing political momentum means the two degree Celsius climate upper limit is still within reach.
A statement issued on the closing day of Our Common Future under Climate Change (CFCC15) explains that “a two in three probability of holding warming to 2°C or less will require a budget that limits future carbon dioxide emissions to about 900 billion tons, roughly 20 times annual emissions in 2014. “
In practice, limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels will require cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases by 40-70% below current levels by 2050.
Chairman of the CFCC15 Scientific Committee and director of the US Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology Chris Field said, “We are moving to a post-carbon era, where climate-change mitigation and adaptation are combined with other goals to build a sustainable future”.
“This conference has shown that social and technological innovation, from individuals, communities, firms, and nations, can lead to mitigation and adaptation options that are scaleable, fair and cost-effective,” added Scientific Committee member and Professor at the University of Oslo Karen O’Brien.
Some 2000 scientists from almost 100 countries have spent the past 4 days in Paris showcasing evidence-based ways to both reduce emissions and build resilient societies.
The science meeting from 7-10 July considered new aspects of climate change projections including impacts on ocean life and economic activities from rising temperature and ocean acidification.
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