The countdown to save the planet and people from the worst impacts of climate change has begun: there are barely six years left to reach a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees, so “every ton of CO2 that we can avoid emitting at “The atmosphere is vital,” warns a study published this Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
This is the most up-to-date and complete research to date on the global carbon budget, that is, the estimate of the amount of dioxide emissions that can be emitted into the atmosphere to keep warming below a certain limit. in this case to not exceed the global temperature increase of 1.5 degrees to which the Paris Agreement to combat the climate crisis aspires.
The accounts are as follows: in January 2023 there was a remainder of less than 250 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) to be emitted into the atmosphere so that the planet does not warm, on average, more than 1.5 degrees compared to normal levels. pre-industrial (year 1850).
Maintaining the current rate of emissions (in 2022 40 GtCO2 went into the atmosphere) in this year 2023 and subsequent years, the carbon budget to not exceed 1.5 degrees would have been exhausted in six years, around 2029.
The authors also calculate that the remaining carbon budget to keep global warming below 2 degrees is 1,200 GtCO2 and that if the current rate of emissions were maintained, it would have been exceeded in 23 years (2046).
Little climate budget left
Scientists warn, however, that since there is so little budget left to avoid exceeding the objectives of the Paris Agreement, any change that implies more or less emissions may cause these dates to vary.
However, this research shows that the remaining carbon budget is smaller than previously estimated and has been reduced by approximately half since 2020 due to the continued increase in global emissions.
We are not doing enough to keep warming at safe levels
“Our results confirm what we already know: we are not doing enough to keep warming at safe levels, and the window to stay below 1.5 degrees is closing,” one of the main authors said in a press conference. Robin Lamboll, researcher at Imperial College London.
“Every fraction of a degree of warming will make life more difficult for people and ecosystems. This study is one more warning from the scientific community. Now it is up to governments to act,” adds Lamboll.Lamboll emphasizes that the results of this study “are not a call to give up, but rather an alert that every ton of CO2 saved into the atmosphere counts.”
Scientists recall that even exceeding the 1.5 degree threshold for a certain time, global temperature could decrease if countries reach zero net emissions by mid-century, as they also committed to in the Paris Agreement.The conclusions of this study are based on a review of existing estimates, as well as climate models and data updated in recent months.