Friday, May 29, 2009

World needs drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions

Drastic greenhouse gas cuts are needed if we want to avoid the worst climate change scenario. Latest study carried out by the NCAR scientist Warren Washington showed that cutting greenhouse gases by 70 percent this century would spare the planet the most catastrophic effects of climate change. Sadly, it is highly unlikely that world will agree to such drastic greenhouse gas cuts in years to come.

According to this study if world would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70 % warming in the Arctic would almost halved preventing the massive ice loss on Arctic sea ice, help preserve many endangered species like for instance polar bears. Warming trend is more than obvious, and things will only become worse if we fail to make serious greenhouse gas cuts as soon as possible.

Current warming trend must be stopped by all means because if emissions continue their current trend, temperatures would rise by 2.2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century and we'll be heading to a real catastrophe. Current greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are about 380 parts per million (ppm), which is almost 100 ppm more compared to pre-industrial period. Scientists have established the danger zone at 450 ppm, everything above means serious consequences.

This study also showed that if we could maintain carbon dioxide emissions at 450 ppm global temperatures would rise by 0.6 degrees Celsius (one degree Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, which is more than acceptable, especially if we look at the current warming trend. Holding carbon emissions at 450 ppm would also mean smaller sea level rise, and the climate system would stabilize by about 2100.

This study shows that there is a hope that world can actually avoid the worst possible scenario but this hope will turn into reality only if world can significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions in the next couple of decades. Can world achieve such drastic cuts in years to come? Current talks about new climate deal are really not giving us too much hope because world looks to be having tough time agreeing on cuts of 20%, and 70 % greenhouse gas cuts look from the current point of view to be somewhere between fairytale and science fiction.

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