Monday, February 21, 2011

Global carbon emissions to double

The recently published Global Emissions Trends analysis projects that in a "business as usual" scenario (i.e. no changes to carbon emission policies) global carbon emissions will double by 2030.

This would make the IPCC target of a 50% reduction in global carbon emissions by 2050 (on 1990 levels) difficult to achieve, increasing the probability of global mean temperatures rising above the critical level of +2 Degrees. (See why 2 Degrees is a critical level in The 2 Degree Target).

Under this scenario:
  • Developing countries will account for 70 per cent of global carbon dioxide by 2030, up from around half today, with China (41%) and India (11%) taking the largest share, due to increasing population (+22% by 2030), industrialisation, and the greater energy demands as living standards improve in these countries.
  • Australia's carbon emissions would rise 24% by 2020. The strong growth in emissions would be dominated by the extraction and processing of energy resources.
This disastrous scenario will not happen if governments shape public policy to transition towards a low-carbon future. This research forms part of eight papers in the Garnaut Climate Change Review - Update 2011.

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