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Can we limit global warming to 2ºC? New Scientist, June 2017

Current commitments from the world’s nations mean we will overshoot the 2°C target agreed in Paris. More radical strategies are needed – and we need to work on them now.

AT THE core of the Paris climate change agreement is the aspiration to “[hold] the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”. At current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, we have 20 years before such a rise is inevitable. To avoid it, we need emissions to peak as soon as possible – preferably by 2020 – before making their way to zero by about 2070.Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 10.45.33

There are some grounds for optimism: energy and industry emissions may already be peaking as the world moves away from the dirtiest of fossil fuels, coal (see “Living with climate change: Turning the corner“). But this needs to be seen in context. We are still emitting almost 42 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Change is not yet happening fast enough or on a large-enough scale to meet the world’s growing energy demand.

 

Read the full article here at New Scientist.

Olive Heffernan

Olive Heffernan is a London-based freelance environment writer. Olive mostly writes about climate change and its impacts, but also writes more broadly on sustainable resource use. Here you can find an archive of her recent articles, link to her Twitter feed and her blog.

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