Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

If the world were serious about addressing Climate Change

If the world were serious about addressing Climate Change

A new World Bank-commissioned report warns the world is on track to a “4°C world” marked by extreme heat-waves and life-threatening sea level rise.

The report is over 70 pages long.

The global community has committed itself to holding warming below 2°C to prevent “dangerous” climate change, the sum total of current policies—in place and pledged—will very likely lead to warming far in excess of this level. Indeed, present emission trends put the world plausibly on a path toward 4°C warming within this century.

Levels greater than 4°C warming could be possible within this century should climate sensitivity be higher, or the carbon cycle and other climate system feedbacks more positive, than anticipated. Current scientific evidence suggests that even with the current commitments and pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20 percent likelihood of exceeding 4°C by 2100, and a 10 percent chance of 4°C being exceeded as early as the 2070s.

Warming would not stop there. Because of the slow response of the climate system, the greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations that would lead to warming of 4°C by 2100 would actually commit the world to much higher warming, exceeding 6°C or more, in the long term, with several meters of sea-level rise ultimately associated with this warming.

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