Negative Emissions Key to Meeting 2°C Threshold

Bobby Magill July 12th, 2016 Climate Central

Humans will have to not only stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2085, but also develop technology that will result in negative emissions — the removal of 15 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by the end of the century —  in order to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F), according to a new study.

Human greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and carbon dioxide, have already warmed the globe more than 1°C (1.8°F) compared to pre-industrial levels. The Paris Climate Agreement negotiated last year seeks to cap warming to below 2°C, while at the same time pursuing an even more ambitious goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C.

But according to a new National Center for Atmospheric Research study, just cutting emissions under the Paris agreement may not be enough to keep global warming from blasting past 2°C, said Benjamin Sanderson, the study’s lead author.

Meeting the Paris agreement as written will require a long-term commitment to negative emissions in the last two decades of the century, he said…

Sanderson et al. What would it take to achieve the Paris temperature targets? Geophysical Research Letters Full publication history DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069563

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