IPCC: Greenhouse gas emissions continue to accelerate
A report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this month found that greenhouse gas emissions have accelerated between 2000 and 2010, rising to an unprecedented level.
The findings indicated that exiting efforts to reduce carbon emissions are not enough to combat global warming. IPCC has set a goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2 degree celsius (or 35.6 degrees fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels to prevent environmental, economic, and human catastrophes.
“We have three key messages. A warming in the climate system is unequivocal. That is based on the observations and the multiple lines of independent evidence. The second message is human influence on the climate system is clear. This is resulting from the combination of model simulations with the observed climate change. The third message is that continued greenhouse gas emissions cause further climate change and constitute a multi-century commitment in the future. Therefore, we conclude limiting climate change requires substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gases,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.
In order to meet the 2 degrees celsius cap, the world needs to cut the 2010 greenhouse gas emissions level by 40% to 70% by 2050 and push down carbon emissions levels to near-zero by 2100.
IPCC said the world needs to be more aggressive in adopting climate change mitigation measures, such as reduce energy use in transportation, buildings, manufacturing, industry and agriculture.
In addition to reducing energy use, the IPCC also pointed out that afforestation – or planting forests – could remove capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
But these mitigation measures would require governments, industries, and people around the world to “move away from business as usual”, according to Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.
While Edenhofer acknowledged the “substantial investments” required to put these measures into practice, he said the earlier these measures are adopted the less costly it will be in the future.
“We have a choice to live in a world in which climate change is limited to less than 2 degree celsius or in a world that is warmer than 4 degree celsius,” said Stocker.