A steep road to climate stabilization – Friedlingstein

by Joe Archive on January 20, 2008

a href=”http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v451/n7176/full/nature06593.html”Nature V451/a – Free access (for now)br /br /Friedlingstein contributes to Nature’s “Year of planet Earth” feature with a discussion of why the Bali targets for industrialized nations are “one giant leap for policy-maker, but a small step for the global environment.br /br /Essentially, the targets are insufficient to stabilize atmospheric carbon, a vital goal for the environment. br /br /Only about 55% of the current emissions are absorbed by the bio and hydrospheres, so we need, to first order, to cut our emissions by 45% globally – made all the more difficult by the growing carbon output from the industrializing countries like China and India.br /br /The problem is, in fact even worse, because as the atmospheric levels begin to stabilize, the oceanic levels will catch up and the ocean will absorb less and less carbon. So the initial 45% cut would be insufficent in the long run.br /br /Further difficulties emerge as the climate changes – the projected effects of climate change on the global carbon cycle indicate that the bio- and hydro-spheres will reduce the carbon uptake. This creates a positive feedback that makes carbon stabilization all the harder.br /br /Possibly we may have to reduce anthropogenic carbon emission to zero to achieve stability. Net emissions that is, we can count sequestration effects in our favour in this balance.

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