Hope for stabilising the climate
Positive.News – Mankind has already emitted enough carbon dioxide to blow past internationally agreed limits on warming – that’s the bad news. The good news is that this baked-in heating could take longer than previously thought to take effect, buying us time to adapt and develop technological climate fixes – but only if we reduce emissions fast.
Those are the conclusions of a report, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, which estimates that baked-in heating (heating we have already committed to through historical CO2 emissions) will push global temperatures to 2.3C above pre-industrial levels. But not, potentially, for centuries.
“The good news is [the emergence of] this committed warming is a very slow process,” said study co-author Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University. “That means if we can get emissions to net zero soon, we can stay below 2C for a very long time, giving us more time to adapt. Our work emphasises the need to reduce emissions as quickly as possible in order to avoid large near-term warming.