Humans have yet to push the planet past the point of no return when it comes to global warming, according to the surprising results of a new study. The Vancouver Sun has the story:
By the time the existing emitters are pulled from the road, torn down or phased out over the next 50 years, they will have collectively pumped out 496 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, their study concludes. The study says this will raise carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to less than 430 parts per million and push the average global temperature 1.3 C above pre-industrial levels, which is below the 2 C threshold widely expected to lead to dangerous and potentially catastrophic warming.
"The most threatening emissions" are from sources that have yet to be built — the vehicles, homes, factories and energy plants of tomorrow, the researchers conclude.
While existing infrastructure is less of a threat to climate than they expected, the researchers stress there is an urgent need to take action.
"Because most of the threat from climate change will come from energy infrastructure we have yet to build, it is critically important that we build the right stuff now — that is, low carbon emission energy technologies," Caldeira says in a summary.
(via Sightline Daily)
A) Isn't this going to infuriate the Chinese, Indians et al. by saying the past and current emissions of the West are no problem and exceeding the "safe level" will be their fault?
B) Isn't there increasing doubt that 450ppm is a "safe level"? See James Hansen's analysis in "Storms of My Grandchildren" saying we don't want to go there unless we want to risk 70m sea level rise. (Summarized in this post.
The article does say that we haven't reached the point of "dangerous and potentially catastrophic warming," we have to realize that the pollution level doesn't just jump from point A to point B - there is a path between them, and that path has been shown to have it's own destructive effects. It's not a "safe level" really. It's a "we're not yet doomed" level.
I don't think anyone in their right mind would actually say "Oh the pollution we pumped into the world are no problem," anyway.
Also, I was curious about your post about James Hansen's work, but it's not working.
It seems that the report is just saying that catastrophe will happen slightly later than we expected.