Leading academic calls for "substantial and sustained" action on CO2

by Search Gate staff. Published Wed 10 Dec 2014 15:15
"It is not too late to turn this around," urges Prof Corinne Le Quéré

A leading climate change researcher has called for “substantial and sustained reductions in CO2 emissions - with all countries onboard” at the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima today.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré, of the University of East Anglia and director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research presented trends in global carbon emissions and their implications for the remaining carbon budget to limit global warming to two degrees. Two thirds of the CO2 budget has already been used.

The event also investigated strategies to share the remaining carbon budget and the development of negative emissions technologies.

Governments, researchers, and NGOs are currently in Lima to finalise and support the last round of annual UN climate negotiations before December 2015’s critical meeting in Paris – where the successor to the Kyoto Protocol should be agreed.

Prof Le Quéré said: “All countries, not just the rich ones, have to be onboard the Paris agreement for a radical and sustained global cut in carbon emissions. The global atmosphere cannot withstand another Kyoto Protocol whereby CO2 emissions have anyway risen year-on-year.

“Our Global Carbon Budget research shows that CO2 emissions, the main contributor to global warming, are set to rise again in 2014 - reaching a record high of 40 billion tonnes."

Last week, other research from UEA shows that 2014 is on course to be one of, if not the warmest year on record globally.

“The human influence on climate change is clear. We need substantial and sustained reductions in CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels if we are to limit global climate change. All countries need to be onboard the new agreement to control global emissions and reduce them drastically in the coming decades, and to near zero by the end of the century.

“Politicians meeting in Lima have a hard job of balancing historical responsibility, current emissions, and economic development of poor countries in their efforts to come up with a global agreement. But dealing with climate change concerns everyone."

She also says that delegates in Lima have been boosted by “fresh optimism” as a result of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon’s Climate Summit of World Leaders in September.

She said: “We have seen an overwhelming show of public support by hundreds of thousands of marchers in New York and many more in major cities worldwide, alongside significant international pledges for climate finance, and the US and China jointly announcing their pledges to cut and control emissions.”

Next year's conference in Paris will see 193 nations announce their national plans to tackle emissions as the follow-on to the Kyoto Protocol.

“The cumulative total of these carbon reduction pledges, if met, will likely decide the trajectory of global warming,” said Prof Le Quéré. “Current emissions suggest a pathway that will well exceed an average of 2°C of global warming. It is not too late to turn this around.”

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