Scientists call for urgent government action on climate change | Pacific Beat

Scientists call for urgent government action on climate change

Scientists call for urgent government action on climate change

Updated 3 December 2012, 9:51 AEST

As the United Nations climate talks enter their final week in Doha, scientists are stepping up the pressure on governments globally to do more to avert dangerous global warming.

In the latest snapshot, they're warning that emissions in 2012 are at an unprecedented high, increasing on average by 3 per cent per year, with more than three quarters produced by China.

Scientists have described the growth as "shocking" and without drastic action, they warn governments have no chance of keeping the planet to the agreed 2 degree temperature rise by the turn of the century.

Presenter: Sarah Clarke

Speaker: Pep Canadell, CSIRO Global Carbon project

By the end of this year our analysis shows global emissions from fossil fuels are set to reach unprecedented amount of 36 billion tonnes of CO2. Just to put things in perspective, this is 58 per cent over 1990 which is the kyoto protocol reference year and growing at about 3 times faster than they were growing in the 90's

Q: How does that compare to last year?

In 2012 we grew at about 2.6 per cent and last year was about 3 per cent. if you took it back to the last decade you had up and down of 3 per cent as an average.

Q: What can you pin that down to?

80 per cent of the growth we've seen specifically last year was due to 80 per cent came from emissions in China and the rest split among the rest of the emerging economies in the developing world

Q: If we were to continue at this growth rate will we be looking at overreaching our target of keeping temperatures at below 2 degrees celsius by the turn of the century?

If we look at what has happened last year and this year and overall over the last 10 years we are now falling perfectly on track of the emissions path that will take us to anywhere between 4 and 6 degrees by 2100 if we dont do anything different from what we are doing now.

Q: Are you surprised by the growth from last year to this year?

It is actually shocking to us because remember some of the bigger economies like the US and Europe they are still going through major economic difficulties so their production is lower than it would be had it not been for the economic crisis so we have seen some decline in Europe and the US. We are wondering if this decline may disappear as these regions move out of the economic crisis that still is underway.

Q: If governments globally tried to curb emissoins, how soon could we start to stabilise the output?

We think that not between 2020 and 2030. The real possibility is if governments became very aggressive in policies of climate change that there is good past experiences that could allow for governments to be inspired and look at more aggressive and faster actions.

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