Global warming can be eased only if carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions begin to fall within the next two decades and eventually decrease to zero.
London: Global warming can be eased only if carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions begin to fall within the next two decades and eventually decrease to zero.
The research focuses on the scale of carbon emission reduction needed to keep future global warming at no more than two degrees Celsius over average temperatures prior to the Industrial Revolution.
This target is now almost universally accepted as a safe limit. The team examined the extent to which carbon emissions should be reduced, how steep this reduction needs to be and how soon we should begin, the journal Nature Climate Change reports.
Pierre Friedlingstein, professor at the University of Exeter, who led the study, said: "When I analysed these results, I was surprised to see so few options available to us.
"We know we need to tackle global warming, but our research really emphasises the urgency of the situation, added Friedlingstein, according to an Exeter statement.
"The only way for us to achieve a safe future climate will be to reduce emissions by at least three percent, starting as soon as possible. The longer we leave it, the harder it will be."
The researchers found that zero or negative emissions are compatible with this target if global carbon emissions are reduced by at least three percent per year within the next two decades.
The results clearly show that if reducing global emissions is delayed by just 10 or 20 years, then much steeper reductions will be needed in order to meet a two-degree warming target.
First Published: Monday, November 21, 2011, 14:14