The news gets grimmer on the science front, judging by a session reviewing the latest climate change research. And despite all the proposals on the table for emissions reductions by 2020, we will only make two-thirds of the progress required to avoid reaching the tipping point, says Robert Correl, from Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, United States.
Here’s a sample of the grim tidings from Correl; from Pal Presterud, director of Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), Oslo; and Stein Sanven of the Nansen Centre, Oslo:
• Since 2000, carbon dioxide emissions have grown at four times the rate that they grew in the 1990s and are now above the worst case emission scenario of the IPCC.
• Despite 15 years of intense international negotiations, concentrations of carbon dioxide have been growing 33 per cent faster in the last eight years than in the 1990s.
• In 2008, atmospheric carbon dioxide touched 387 parts per million (ppm) – 40 per cent above pre-industrial levels.
• Oceans that serve as sinks for carbon dioxide are becoming warmer and more acidic, while the Arctic – the ‘climate change bellwether’ – is now facing some of the most rapid and severe climate change on the earth.
Correl ends on an even grimmer note. Even at the most optimistic estimates, the rise in temperature will stabilise at an average of 3.5 degrees rise over pre-industrial levels, he says.
T. V Padma, South Asia Regional Coordinator, SciDev.Net