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Thursday, 03 July 2008 22:26

Australian report warns: More drastic cuts needed in greenhouse gases

According to a new report by the Australian National University, to keep increases in Earth's surface temperature below dangerous levels, improvements at reducing greenhouse gases must be made in Australia—and, of course, all throughout the world.

Andrew Macintosh, the associate director of the ANU Centre for Climate Law and Policy, is the principal researcher of the study. Macintosh states that as the planet continues to increase in temperature around the globe, the ability of the Earth to absorb carbon will decrease.

Such an indirect relationship (increase global temperature ~ decrease in carbon absorbion) will cause the "rate" of temperature increase to accelerate—making it even more difficult to control global warming.

Macintosh says that the global average surface temperature must be kept below a two degree level (Celsius) in order “… to avoid a threshold for dangerous climate change.” [Canberra Times” “Rudd's climate target 'will fail'”]

In fact, according to Macintosh, the ability to keep the temperature increase at three degrees (Celsius) is not possible.

According to climate scientists, if the increase in the Earth’s surface temperature is not controlled with appropriate anti-emissions measures, eventually the temperature will increase to dangerous levels.

To prevent such dangerous temperature levels to be reached, Macintosh’s team warns that improved measures must be instituted to reduce greenhouse gases.

He states that the current measures instituted by the Australian government are not adequate.

Specifically, what does Macintosh say? Please read on.

In fact, Macintosh says that the current Australian project to cut greenhouse gases by 60% by the year 2050, still about forty-two years away, will be ineffective to prevent this dangerous level of temperature increase.

These figures are reported in the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC is a scientific body formed to evaluate the dangers of global climate change caused by human activities.

It was established in 1988 by two United Nation’s organizations: the World Meteorological Organization and the Environment Program.

The First Assessment Report of the IPCC was published in 1990, and later subsequent Assessment Reports were issued in 1995, 2001, and 2007.

According to the ScienceAlert.com.au article “Greater emission cuts needed,” the Macintosh study suggests that “global climate change policy must incorporate critical climate-carbon cycle feedback information into the decision making process or run the risk of falling well short of what is required to prevent dangerous climate change….”

The article continues to report that Macintosh “… says that information from coupled climate-carbon cycle models suggests that the emission cuts that are required to prevent the global average surface temperature increasing by more than 2 - 3ºC above pre-industrial levels are far greater than previously believed.”

What does Macintosh conclude and recommend? Page three says.

Macintosh states, “Sixty percent is clearly inconsistent with trying to keep temperatures to two degrees and is more consistent with trying to keep temperatures to four degrees, so clearly outside of the bounds of what a large number of people are now saying is the trigger for dangerous climate change." [RadioAustralia.net.au: “New research calls for greater emission cuts"]

Macintosh concludes, “A 60 per cent mitigation target for developed countries for 2050 is likely to fall well short of what is required if there is a desire to keep the temperature increase below 3ºC.”

The ScienceAlert article concludes, “Failure to incorporate this information into policy processes now could close off options to avoid dangerous climate change.”

What should be done, according to Macintosh?

According to the Canberra Times article “Rudd's climate target 'will fail',” Macintosh states that, “We have to leapfrog those figures and enter a new realm. Australia would need to set interim goals to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2020, and aim to move toward 70 percent by 2030.”

What about future plans for the world, in general?

The Canberra Times reports that Macintosh stated, “A concerted effort from the international community is required to achieve even an atmospheric concentration target that equates to a best-estimate warming of 3.6ºC. If there is a desire to keep the temperature increase below 3ºC, the results suggest the key abatement dates are likely to be 2020 to 2030, not 2050.”

The original paper is found at "Climate policy needs drastic rethink: expert."

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