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New Hansen Paper Calls For Climate Change Action

05.12.2013 14:06 Age: 4 yrs

Climate scientist James Hansen and others set out the drastic measures they believe are necessary to avoid dangerous climate change in a new paper just published. Failure act would amount to an act of "intergenerational injustice", they write.

Click to enlarge. From the new paper.


The paper published by PLOS ONE calls for radical measures to curb carbon emissions to hold future temperature rises to 1o2. With the majority, 0.41W/m2 coming from the upper 2000m of the world's oceans and smaller contributions from heat gain by the deeper ocean (+0.10 W/m2), energy used in net melting of ice (+0.05 W/m2), and energy taken up by warming continents (+0.02 W/m2). 

The paper calculates the reduction in atmospheric CO2 levels required to offset this calculated positive energy balance using currently assumed carbon sensitivities. A circa 10 per cent reduction to 360ppm is needed to offset a 0.5W/m2 imbalance and a reduction to 345ppm would be needed to counteract a 0.75W/m2 imbalance, the authors state.


End of the century

A 6% per year decrease of fossil fuel emissions beginning in 2013, combined with a massive reforestation campaign designed to lock away 100 Gt of carbon would achieve a CO2 decline to 350 ppm near the end of this century, the authors state.

"Our analysis shows that a set of actions exists with a good chance of averting "dangerous" climate change, if the actions begin now. However, we also show that time is running out. Unless a human "tipping point" is reached soon, with implementation of effective policy actions, large irreversible climate changes will become unavoidable. Our parent's generation did not know that their energy use would harm future generations and other life on the planet. If we do not change our course, we can only pretend that we did not know,"they conclude.





Abstract here. Full paper available on open access here.