Environment

Limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees now looks impossible

Limiting global temperature ri...
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Last year at the UN climate change talks in Cancun, it was agreed that cutting emissions sufficiently to limit the world's temperature increase to 2°C would require a far‑reaching transformation of the global energy system. To limit the world's temperature increase to 2°C, it was agreed that the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would need to be limited to around 450 parts per million of carbon-dioxide (CO2). Sadly, the International Energy Agency has just released figures indicating that energy-related CO2 emissions in 2010 were the highest ever, reaching 30.6 Gigatonnes (Gt). This means that to achieve the 2020 target, where emissions must not be greater than 32 Gt, emissions will need to rise less over the next ten years in total than they did between 2009 and 2010.

"Our latest estimates are another wake-up call," said Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the IEA who oversees the annual World Energy Outlook, the Agency's flagship publication.

"The world has edged incredibly close to the level of emissions that should not be reached until 2020 if the 2ºC target is to be attained. Given the shrinking room for manœuvre in 2020, unless bold and decisive decisions are made very soon, it will be extremely challenging to succeed in achieving this global goal agreed in Cancun."

The IEA estimates that 40% of global emissions came from OECD countries in 2010, but OECD countries only account for 25% of emissions growth compared to 2009. Non-OECD countries - led by China and India - saw much stronger increases in emissions as their economic growth accelerated.

That said, OECD countries emitted 10 tonnes of CO2 per capita on average, compared with 5.8 tonnes per capita for China, and 1.5 tonnes per capita in India.

In terms of fuels, 44% of the estimated CO2 emissions in 2010 came from coal, 36% from oil, and 20% from natural gas.

35 comments
Grimsby Bruce
Per capita measurements are worse than useless, but not as useless as the graph posted with this article. \"Economic value of fossil-fuel consumption subsidies...\" Why?
bgstrong
The UN, The Int\'l Energy Agency and a handfull of other self-serving crooks have perpetrated one of the greatest hoaxes ever seen by the world, Global Warming..
Mark in St. Louis
Shame on Gizmag for publishing this kind of political/junk science. Stick to technology.
JED
I have two words "Climate Gate" After conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organized resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more the scientists appointed by the United Nations at University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit could not prove any correlation between CO2 (green house gases) and climate change. These scientists manipulated evidence, had private doubts about whether the world really is heating up, suppressed evidence, fantasized about violence against prominent Climate Skeptic scientists, attempted to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), and plotted how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. After all of this the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could prove NO CONNECTION between CO2 and climate change.
AllenH
From a technology standpoint, Gizmag authors should be smart enough to know that all humanity working together could not raise or lower global temperatures. Archaelogists tell us that in the distant past, the entire earth was a tropical rain forest. If man did not cause that bout of \"global warming,\" why do today\'s \"experts\" think we caused this one (if indeed global temperatures are increasing)? Proponents of global warming tout computer models based on data from worldwide temperature sensors. Really? How many centuries have those stations been in place? For that matter, how long have accurate thermometers been in existence? Gizmag: Challenge us with technologically new and unique ideas. The proponents of global warming are already challenging the gullibility of people around the world. Don\'t sully your reputation by joining them.
Macho Slavich
Love how you are willing to sell your scientific soul for a political what? Climate change and global warming is impossible to be affected at present by MAN... a scientific place such as yours should not take a political stance - especially when fraud and other misrepresentations are tied in with the theory - shame on you
alcalde
Folks, this is a science and technology blog where we stick to reality. Please save the Alex Jones/Tea Party conspiracy talk for somewhere else. Science has declared human-caused global warming to be reality, just like evolution and gravity. Please don\'t accost Gizmag for reporting on all three.
Iván Imhof
Whether we could heat up the climate or not, it doesn\'t really matter. What matters is the fact that our planet has limited resources but the growth of population, the extensive consuming of natural resources and the pollution is exponentially growing. Do your math. It will definitely led to crisis. Depending on your age you could see it in your life, or you would die sooner. Maybe the latter is more lucky.
TCT
@ Jed: Get informed about \"climate gate\". http://www.factcheck.org/2009/12/climategate/ @ bgstrong: Don\'t be a hater @ AllenH: No one is saying Earth was never hot like in the past, the problem is that it is getting hotter faster than it did before (over decades instead of thousands of years) and adaptation of species won\'t be able to keep up and there could be collapse of ecosystems. Sure life on earth will go on, but it\'ll be a rough ride. Obviously those sensors haven\'t been in place for a long time. Don\'t be obtuse. But they use many other techniques to determine history of climate (ice core samples among them). Lighten up a bit.
Matt Thompson
Wow! A lot of tin hat wearing individuals....you, because its far easier to believe that 10,000s of scientists are working to hod wink the entire planets population. Maybe should hang out on fringe conspiracy websites.