Avoiding dangerous climate change

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Global warming: the final warning

According to a recent UN report, the world will be a much hotter place by 2100. This will be the impact ...
0 — Pre industrial average world temperature, 14.5degC

move your mouse up and down the thermometre to find out more
+6.4 +5.4 +4.4 +3.4 +2.4 0

Maximum Rate of Fossil Carbon Emissions to Prevent Dangerous Climate Change for the next Millenia

With reservations, the amount of fossil carbon we can burn, at a decreasing rate with-out (just) broaching the dangerous 2degC above preindustrial, or 1degC above nowtemperature threshold, is shown in the blue boxes towards the bottom of the page. Itadds to 327GtC. Current reserves of oil contain 137GtC and Gas contains 102GtC(239GtC total). Coal reserves amount to 650GtC and hence is not an option. Stretchinggas and oil supplies by restricting their use to essential high efficiency purposes we canuse them in this reduction scheme and possibly avoid dangerous global warming.

GtC = Giga tonne of Carbon emissions
Giga = 1billion

Climate data from:James Hansen. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/Meinshausen et al. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/can-2c-warming-be-avoided/Chapter 28 of “Avoiding dangerous climate change” from: www.defra.gov.uk/environment Coal phaseout from James Hansen.

Eventually, well before 2100, both transport and electric power will have to be zero carbon. Table shows scale of reduction compared to current Australian perperson emissions. World population stable at 6.5 billion

YearTotal World
Average world
KgC/Person yr
World average as
% of 2005
Australian per
person emission

temp and co2 graph

Percentage Reduction of 2010 Fossil Carbon emissions for Australia to keep below the 2degC rise above preindustrial temperature

To stay below 2degC temperature rise World fossil carbon emissions, now 8GtC/yr have to halve to 4GtC/yr by 2034 then taper to zero by 2100. That process is named contraction. If we do this then atmospheric CO2 rises to475ppm in 2045 before dropping back and stabilising at 415ppm in 2150.

Also, under the convergence scheme, Australia and other high emitters are being given 1/3 of a century (until 2034) to reduce their per person emissions to world average per person emissions. This graph isbased on a constant world population of 6.5 billion people. There are 2 pathways shown to the convergence point, 1 of them linear and the other (yellow) a constant, equal effort, 9.05%/yr exponential reduction. The linear pathway gets progressively more difficult as you approach the convergence point - the laststep requires a 25% reduction.

This graph can be used to scale all Australian emissions for this 21st century be they personal emissions or national. But it doesn’t apply to other countries unless they currently have the same per person emissions as Australians.

Contract and Converge data from:http://www.gci.org.uk
Climate data from:James Hansen. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/Meinshausen et al. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/can-2c-warming-be-avoided/ Chapter 28 of “Avoiding dangerous climate change” from: www.defra.gov.uk/environment