Thursday, April 30, 2009

Climate Chaos Predicted by CO2 Study

World will have exceeded 2050 safe carbon emissions limit by 2020, scientists say

by Steve Connor for The Independent/UK

The world will overshoot its long-term target on greenhouse gasemissions within two decades. A study has found that the average global temperature will rise above the threshold that could cause dangerous climate change during that time.

[(photo: Greenpeace)](photo: Greenpeace)
Scientists have calculated that the world has already produced about a third of
the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that could be emitted between
2000 and 2050 and still keep within a C rise in global average temperatures.

At the current rate at which CO2 is emitted
globally - which is increasing by 3 per cent a year - countries will have exceeded their total limit of 1,000 billion tons within 20 years,
which would be about 20 years earlier than planned under international obligations. "If we continue burning fossil fuels as we do, we will
have exhausted the carbon budget in merely 20 years, and global warming
will go well beyond C," said Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute
for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who led the study, published in

"Substantial reductions in global emissions have to begin soon - before 2020. If we wait longer, the required phase-out of carbon emissions will involve tremendous economic costs and technological challenges. We should not forget that a C global mean warming would
take us far beyond the variations that Earth has experienced since we humans have been around."

It is the first time scientists have calculated accurately the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that can be released into the atmosphere between 2000 and 2050 and still have a
reasonable chance of avoiding temperature rises higher than C above pre-industrial levels - widely viewed as a "safe" threshold.

The scientists found the total amount of greenhouse gases that could be
released over this time would be equivalent to 1,000 billion tons of
CO2. This is equivalent to using up about 25 per cent of known reserves
of oil, gas and coal, said Bill Hare, a co-author of the study.

The study concluded that the world must agree on a cut in carbon dioxide
emissions of more than 50 per cent by 2050 if the probability of
exceeding a C rise in average temperatures is to be limited to a risk
of 1 in 4.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Climate Change Hitting Entire Arctic Ecosystem

By John Vidal for The Guardian/UK

Extensive climate change is now affecting every form of life in the Arctic, according to a major new assessment by international polar scientists.

In the past four years, air temperatures have increased, sea ice has
declined sharply, surface waters in the Arctic ocean have warmed and
permafrost is in some areas rapidly thawing.

In addition, says the report released today at a Norwegian government seminar, plants and trees are growing more vigorously, snow cover is decreasing 1-2% a year and glaciers are shrinking.

Scientists from Norway, Canada, Russia and the US contributed to the Arctic monitoring and assessment programme (Amap) study, which says new factors such as "black carbon" - soot -
ozone and methane may now be contributing to global and arctic warming as much as carbon dioxide.

"Black carbon and ozone in particular have a strong seasonal pattern that makes their impacts particularly important in the Arctic," it says.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Experts say meeting Global warming goals is unlikely

From Reuters

OSLO/BONN - Global warming is likely to overshoot a 2 degrees

Celsius (3.6 F) rise seen by the European Union and many developing
nations as a trigger for "dangerous" change, a Reuters poll of
scientists showed on Tuesday.

[A mountain is reflected in a bay that used to be covered by the Sheldon glacier on the Antarctic peninsula, January 14, 2009, file photo. The glacier has shrunk by about 2 km since 1989, probably because of global warming. (REUTERS/Alister Doyle)]A
mountain is reflected in a bay that used to be covered by the Sheldon
glacier on the Antarctic peninsula, January 14, 2009, file photo. The
glacier has shrunk by about 2 km since 1989, probably because of global
warming. (REUTERS/Alister Doyle)
Nine of 11 experts, who were
among authors of the final summary by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change in 2007 (IPCC), also said the evidence that
mankind was to blame for climate change had grown stronger in the past
two years.

Giving personal views of recent research, most
projected on average a faster melt of summer ice in the Arctic and a
quicker rise in sea levels than estimated in the 2007 report, the most
authoritative overview to date drawing on work by 2,500 experts.

lot of the impacts we're seeing are running ahead of our expectations,"
said William Hare of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

of 11 experts said it was at best "unlikely" -- or less than a
one-third chance -- that the world would manage to limit warming to a 2
degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) rise above pre-industrial levels.

it can be done. But it's unlikely given the level of political will,"
said Salemeel Huq at the International Institute for Environment and
Development in London.

And David Karoly, of the University of Melbourne, said the world was "very unlikely" to reach the goal.