The Prime Minister’s decision to delay carbon reduction targets while maintaining the 2050 Net Zero target does not consider the likely global temperature in 2050, which will depend on the atmospheric concentration of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) in 2050.
Net Zero 2050 has nothing to do with preventing global temperatures reaching 1.5 or 2.0C which has everything to do with an understanding of carbon budgets.
The carbon budget is an estimate of the maximum amount of GHG that can be released into the atmosphere and still keep warming limited to a specified level eg 1.5oC.
Section D.12 of the IPCC AR6-WG1 Report for Policy Makers explains the near-linear relationship between cumulative CO2 emissions and global warming, indicating 1000Gt of cumulative CO2 emissions is likely to cause a 0.45°C increase in temperature.
Examination of carbon budgets and current emission levels show we will pass 1.5 oC by the end of this decade and 2.0oC in about 20-25 years.
The videos, A Velvet or Violent Climate Revolution or a True Paradise from Professor Kevin Anderson, the Tyndall Centre, Manchester University are thought-provoking, maybe controversial, but will tell you what a 250-word Journal letter cannot.
Getting to Net Zero is important but more so is rapidly reducing our emissions to minimise future warming.
The emissions we emit today will continue influencing temperatures for hundreds of years.
We need our politicians to be honest, to understand and explain the science and to lead globally – time is running out fast for 1.5.
Dr Richard Sharp
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