A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience has found that the goal of the Paris climate accord of keeping global warming levels below 2ºC (3.6ºF) may be easier to achieve than originally anticipated, allowing humanity a much larger carbon budget to work with. One of the major reasons certain parties have rejected the Paris Accord was the perceived difficulty in attaining that goal, but this new finding, if correct, should help encourage more action in regards to what we need to do to curtail global warming.
This new study, conducted by Austria’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, employed the "Earth System" climate simulation models used by the United Nations for their 2011 estimate of a 400 billion metric tonne carbon budget, later reduced to 245 billion tonnes in 2015. This new study also incorporated additional modeling tools that allowed the researchers to explore a wider variety of scenarios, that yielded a budget of 880 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030 — more than double the original estimate — to maintain the 450 ppm of CO2 goal outlined by the Accord.
"This is good news but the pressure is not off," cautions study co-author Joeri Rogelj. "The literature shows that achieving carbon neutrality is technologically and economically possible, if we start with ambitious actions today." Global emissions have thankfully plateaued over the past few years, peaking at 36 billion tonnes in 2015, but humanity still has a lot of work to do to approach carbon neutrality.
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