Beyond dangerous climate change – Philosophical Transactions

Jan 2011  Beyond dangerous climate change – Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions
This paper demonstrates how meeting the international community’s commitment to “hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius” demands emission reductions far beyond those suggested in the plethora of politically-palatable analysis informing governments. Relying on real rather than naïve modelled data the paper demonstrates how even a 50:50 chance of not exceeding 2°C requires emission reductions of over 7% p.a. – a conclusion made all the more demanding once equity-issues are considered. Put simply, if even a small emission space is assumed for the poorer (non-Annex 1) nations, there is virtually no space available for the wealthier (Annex 1) nations. The paper concludes that “dangerous climate change can only be avoided if economic growth is exchanged for a period of planned austerity within Annex 1 nations at the same time as there is a rapid transition away from fossil-fuelled development within non-Annex 1 nations.” Unfortunately, in 2011, and despite the evidence, such a conclusion is still beyond anything we are yet prepared to countenance.

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