Greater emission cuts needed to prevent irreversible damage

July 3rd, 2008 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 3 (IANS) Much greater cuts in emissions of greenhiouse gases are required to prevent the global average surface temperature from increasing by more than two to three degrees above pre-industrial levels, a scientist has warned. Failure to incorporate this information into policy processes now could close off options to avoid dangerous climate change in the future.

Policy makers have been urged to incorporate critical climate-carbon cycle feedback information into the decision making process to prevent irreversible climate changes.

Climate-carbon cycle feedbacks reflect the interaction between temperature change, atmospheric carbon dioxide and the carbon cycle - the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged between land, ocean and atmosphere.

“Global warming could significantly reduce the uptake and storage of carbon by land and ocean sinks,” said Andrew Macintosh, associate director, Australian National University Centre for Climate Law and Policy (CCLP).

“This risk has profound implications for climate policy. If the uptake and storage of carbon by natural sinks declines, a greater proportion of carbon emissions will remain in the atmosphere.

“As a result, meeting climate targets based on atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide will be more difficult, requiring a greater reduction in emissions than would otherwise be necessary.”

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