We've Already Used Up Two-Thirds Of The Global Limit On Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Photo: Getty / File

The carbon dioxide emissions accumulated since the start of the industrial revolution to now already comprises two-thirds of the grand total we can use if we want to limit global warming to less than 2 Degrees Celcius.

The latest annual update of the Global Carbon Budget shows that total future CO2 emissions cannot exceed 1,200 billion tonnes.

We’ve already used 2,000 billion tonnes since the start of the industrial revolution.

And keeping emissions under a 3,200 billion tonnes level gives a 66% chance of keeping average global warming under 2 Degrees Celsius.

Prof Pierre Friedlingstein, from the University of Exeter, says the time for a quiet evolution in attitudes towards climate change is over.

“Delaying action is not an option – we need to act together, and act quickly, if we are to stand a chance of avoiding climate change not long into the future, but within many of our own lifetimes,” he says.

“We have already used two-thirds of the total amount of carbon we can burn, in order to keep warming below the crucial 2°C level.

“If we carry on at the current rate we will reach our limit in as little as 30 years’ time – and that is without any continued growth in emission levels.

“The implication of no immediate action is worryingly clear – either we take a collective responsibility to make a difference, and soon, or it will be too late.”

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