The pledges to curb carbon emissions made during 2009’s Copenhagen Accord are more likely to see Earth suffer a three degree warming rather than the deal’s target of two degrees.
[social_buttons]Such a warming could have dire affects for Earth’s climate system, possibly increasing the frequency of droughts, floods, storms and rising seas, all of which will affect millions of people.
An analysis published in the journal Nature by researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research say the promises made during the Accord last year fell remarkably short of the headline-mark.
“It’s amazing how unambitious these pledges are,” they said.
The Copenhagen Accord details were devised in a last ditch effort to save the entire summit turning into a bigger fiasco, which had so far proven just how stubborn and self-centred humanity is. The summit was supposed to be the pinnacle of two years of hard work to come up with a successor to the mildly successful Kyoto Protocol.
In the end, the accord only managed to set a goal of limiting warming to 2 C, or 3.6 F. A laudable goal: somewhere in the same vain as saying I’ll only murder 13 people by 2020, rather than the 26 I was aiming for.
The toothlessness of the pledge didn’t stop there though, as there was no date set, no stepping-stone targets to reach the goal, and the whole idea is voluntary anyway!
The study shows that if the pledges that were made are allowed to go forward unchecked, global emissions of greenhouse gasses are likely to increase by 10 to 20 percent above the current levels, which will create the equivalent of 47.9 to 53.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020.
“This would result in a greater than 50 percent chance that warming will exceed 3 C (5.4 F) by 2100,” said the authors of the study in a press release. “To be on track for meeting the ‘below 2 C’ climate target, global emissions of no more than 40 to 44 gigatonnes (billion tonnes) of CO2 equivalent have to be achieved by 2020.”
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) researcher Malte Meinshausen summed up the situation brilliantly:
“Forty-eight gigatonnes of C02 emissions is not on track to meet the 2 C goal — it is like racing towards a cliff and hoping to stop just before it.”
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