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How do we stay below a global temperature increase of 2°C

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Thursday, 02 December 2010

How do we stay below a global temperature increase of 2°C

In the margin of the UN climate change summit in Cancún (Mexico), the EU presented a new scientific reference document. It shows that the pledges of the Copenhagen Accord are not satisfactory to limit global warming to 2°C.

The aim of the Copenhagen Accord is to limit global warming of the climate to maximum 2°C to prevent "dangerous anthropogenic interference" with the climate system. It called on all parties to make emission reduction pledges for 2020 to achieve the 2°C target.

The ‘Scientific perspectives after Copenhagen’ report discusses a number of important scientific and technical aspects of international efforts to achieve the 2°C target. It also assesses the pledges the different countries in Copenhagen made to reduce their total emission.

Conditions for 2°C target
A number of scientists in the EU made an assessment of the most relevant studies, including the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and laid down three conditions that could ensure a likely chance of achieving the 2°C target:

•A peak in emissions is required by approximately 2015. The later the peak occurs, the steeper the decline in emissions would need to be in the subsequent decades. Feasibility may be exceeded and the costs of reduction measures will raise substantially.
•A decrease in emissions of 50-70% relative to 1990 levels is necessary by 2050. This assumes further emission reductions after 2050.
•Reductions of long-lived greenhouse gases, such as CO2 are essential. In addition, reductions of the short-lived greenhouse gases, black carbon aerosol, tropospheric ozone, and aviation-induced cloudiness could also make an important contribution.

Source: Belgian EU Presidency