Needs To Axe
Greenhouse Gases By 80 Pct
By Alister Doyle
21 April, 2007
OSLO - The
world will have to axe greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050,
more deeply than planned, to have an even chance of curbing global warming
in line with European Union goals, researchers said on Thursday.Even
tough long-term curbs foreseen by the EU or California fall short of
reductions needed to avert a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) temperature
rise over pre-industrial times, seen by the EU as a threshold for “dangerous
change”, they said.
“If we are to have
a 50 percent chance of meeting a 2 Celsius target we would have to cut
global emissions by 80 percent by 2050,” Nathan Rive of the Center
for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo told Reuters.
“Any delay in implementing
emissions reductions will make a 2 degree target practically unreachable,”
he and colleague Steffen Kallbekken wrote of findings to be published
in the journal Climatic Change.
The EU reckons that there
would be dangerous disruptions to the climate such as ever more droughts,
heatwaves, floods and rising seas beyond a 2 C ceiling. Temperatures
already rose by about 0.7 Celsius in the 20th century.
An 80 percent global cut
would mean rich nations, responsible for most heat-trapping emissions
from fossil fuels burnt by power plants, factories and cars, would have
to axe emissions by about 95 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.
Developing countries such
as China, India, Brazil and Indonesia, where emissions are rising sharply
in line with energy use to help lift millions from poverty, would have
to take on less swinging reductions, they said.
“Even the most ambitious
proposals for emissions cuts in 2050, such as the UK draft climate bill
which sets a cut of 60 percent, or the California target to reduce emissions
by 80 percent by 2050, fall short,” they said.
A draft report by the U.N.
climate panel due for release on May 4 in Bangkok also concludes that
a maximum 2 C rise would be hard to achieve. Restraints on emissions
consistent with the goal could cost up to 3 percent of world gross domestic
And Kalbekken and Rive said
that global emissions would have to peak in 2025, with cuts in place
by 2010, to achieve an 80 percent cut by mid-century. Any delays would
sharply raise costs.
Under the U.N.’s Kyoto
Protocol, 35 industrialized nations now have goals of cutting emissions
by 5 percent below 1990 by 2008-12. The United States, which says the
plan is too costly and wrongly excludes developing states, is the main
U.N. climate negotiations
focused on widening Kyoto beyond 2012 are stalled. Developing nations
say they cannot be expected to cap emissions when energy use has been
a key to economic growth by rich states since the Industrial Revolution.
© Reuters 2007.
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