Tackling global warming tougher than thought earlier: study

April 3rd, 2008 - 11:38 am ICT by admin  

Washington, April 3 (IANS) Reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions that are leading to climate change is going to be a lot more challenging than society has been led to believe, according to a new study.
The challenges of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide - the main greenhouse gas - have been significantly underestimated by the UN appointed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the study has contended.

It says the IPCC is overly optimistic in assuming that new technologies will result in dramatic reductions in the growth of future emissions.

The IPCC, headed by R.K. Pachauri, was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice president Al Gore last year for its work on climate change.

The IPCC report presumes that majority of the emission reductions required to stabilise carbon dioxide concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere will occur automatically.

But Roger Pielke Jr of the University of Colorado and co-author of the new study says: “Not only is this reduction unlikely to happen under current policies, we are moving in the opposite direction right now. We believe these kind of assumptions in the analysis blind us to reality and could potentially distort our ability to develop effective policies.”

These findings have been published Thursday in the prestigious journal Nature.

In Asia, for instance, the demands of more energy-intensive economies are being met with conventional fossil-fuel technologies, a process expected to continue there for decades and eventually move to Africa.

The IPCC underestimate of carbon intensity is due in part to the panel’s differing scenarios tied to global emission changes expected to occur spontaneously and those driven by climate policies, according to the authors.

Stabilisation of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases was the primary objective of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change approved by almost all countries, including the US.

“Stabilisation is a more daunting challenge than many realise and requires a radical ‘decarbonisation’ of energy systems,” said Tom Wigley of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and another co-author of the study.

“Global energy demand is projected to grow rapidly, and these huge new demands must be met by largely carbon-neutral energy sources that either do not use fossil fuels or which capture and store any emitted carbon dioxide.”

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