Posted by: Tony Carson | 11 November, 2009

Global Warming — at least some care

While North America may be doing next to nothing to stop the slide in the horror of Global Warming, others are taking this much more seriously.

Here are the key points in a fact sheet prepared by the German Advisory Council on Global Change.

Climate change: Why 2°C?

The effects of climate change are already noticeable in every part of the world, and they will increase further. These changes entail serious risks for our societies. Humankind now has only a small time window in which to meet the challenge of climate change and take steps to limit the global rise in temperature to a maximum of 2°C.

How strong is human influence on the climate?

Because of the amount of greenhouse gases that humans have already emitted, the present composition of the atmosphere would in the long term lead to global warming of 1.3°C. On account of the inertia of the climate system, warming of only around 0.8°C is observable so far.

What is the connection between emissions and rising temperatures?

Human-induced greenhouse gas emissions have already significantly altered our planet’s radiative balance. At present, the warming effect of greenhouse gases is still partly compensated by the cooling effect of regional air pollution.

How quickly will temperatures rise?

Further warming will mainly be determined by future anthropogenic emissions. These depend in part on population trends and economic growth, but can be reduced by mitigation measures.

What is the effect of climate change on nature?

Even with the moderate warming of 0.8°C that has so far been measured, the effects of climate change are already noticeable in every part of the world. Un-checked climate change outside the 2°C guard rail entails great risk. The negative consequences would pose unprecedented challenges for humankind.

What is the effect of climate change on societies?

Climate change has the potential to trigger major social and economic crises. Poor populations are especially at risk, but wealthy nations are not immune. Temperature rises above 2°C will be particularly difficult to cope with.

What is to be done?

To limit the mean temperature rise to 2°C with a probability of two-thirds, CO2 emissions from now until the middle of the century must not exceed 750 Gt. At current emissions rates this CO2 budget will be exhausted within around 25 years – and even sooner if emissions continue to rise.

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