The finding is likely to put new pressure on the world’s top two carbon emitters — China and the US — both of which were widely blamed for failure to reach a binding global accord on carbon reductions in Copenhagen last December. Furthermore, the non-binding outcome of Copenhagen has global carbon emissions peaking in 2020 — five years too late, according to the latest model.
The model, developed by researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, suggests the world’s annual carbon emissions can reach no more than 10 billion tonnes in five years’ time before they must be put on a steady downward path. After that, the researchers say, emissions must drop by 56 per cent by mid-century and need to approach zero by 2100.
Those targets are necessary to prevent average global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees C by 2100. Under that scenario, though, further warming can still be expected for years to come afterward.
“It will take centuries for the global climate system to stabilise,” says Erich Roeckner, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute.In other words it's hot now, and it's going to only get hotter later. We've already done significant damage to our planet. This summer so far has been the hottest on record worldwide. Climate changes are going to start ramping up as ice melts and more carbon is released into the atmosphere that has been buried under permafrost.
At this point it's a matter of how much damage will be done, and the models for our future are very very grim indeed.
Our grandchildren aren't going to look at us too kindly fifty years from now. They're going to ask us why we stood by and did nothing.
We won't have a good answer.