It’s not enough to cap emissions or reduce their growth.
To prevent warming of 2°C or more, net emissions need to be brought to zero. This was a key message from the IPCC presentations in yesterday’s expert dialogue on the 2013-2015 review.
The IPCC concentration pathway that keeps below 2°C implies that fossil fuel emissions must peak before 2020 and get to zero by 2070 (see IPCC WG1 Figure TS.19). And it would have to be much faster if we don’t want to rely on negative emissions after 2070, or peak and decline doesn’t happen early enough, or we take into account “surprise factors” and feedbacks not included in the models.
On Tuesday, the International Energy Agency released their latest World Energy Outlook, again repeating their message that meeting the 2°C target (with about 50% likelihood) means that two thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground. Furthermore, three quarters of the world’s proven but not yet in production oil reserves will have to remain untapped – leaving no space for Arctic oil.
ECO wonders when countries will truly accept this reality – that we simply need to get rid of fossil fuel altogether, and leave vast majority of the oil, coal and gas we’ve found in the ground.