Friday, April 20, 2007

Step It Up to 95% Reduction in Carbon Emissions

The photos of Step It Up events from last Saturday showing banners calling for Congress to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 may not have reached individual members of Congress yet and already the 80% figure appears to be too low. According to a report in Reuters two scientists from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway are saying that to hold global warming to a 2 C increase from preindustrial levels (anything beyond that level of warming is considered to be extremely dangerous) the wealthy countries such as the United States would have to reduce emissions by 95% from 2000 levels by 2050. Overall global emissions would have to be reduced by 80%, the Step It Up figure, but since developing countries such as China and India would not be expected to reduce their emissions by that much the wealthy countries would have to make up the difference. Al Gore actually called for a 90% reduction when he spoke before the congressional committees a few weeks ago so he was closer to the mark. The scientists, who will be publishing their paper in the journal Climatic Change, also made this depressing statement: “Any delay in implementing emissions reductions will make the 2 degree target practically unreachable.” Do we have until 2009 at least? Seems unlikely much will happen before then given the present occupant of the White House.

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