According to the IEA’s latest data on global carbon emissions the prospect of meeting the target of limiting rising global temperatures to just 2 degrees looks increasingly unlikely.
The limit of 2 degrees for a rise of global temperatures was conceived as the tipping point at which global warming exceeding this level would become dangerous and produce devastating effects on global weather patterns.
The two causes of such a bleak outlook on the future of tackling climate change are the combination of considerable rises in carbon output as well as infrastructural investment causing ‘lock-in’ for carbon emissions in the future.
Despite a renewed effort to tackle rising global emissions at an international meeting in in Copenhagen in 2009 and then again Cancun, Mexico last year, there seems to have been little progress in sufficiently reducing the level of carbon emissions to leave little margin foe error with the target of limiting global temperature rises to 2 degrees by 2020.
One of the main points of argument for western nations at the two previous international meetings on climate change has been the demand of developing countries to have no legally-binding targets so that they can continue on paths economic growth they feel entitled to. In particular, members of the EU and U.S. have been keen for India and China to sign legally binding targets. Otherwise, they argue, any international agreements or targets are meaningless due to the significant volume of emissions they produce. However, in this latest data from the IAE it shows not only rising emissions from China and India, but also a 15% increase in the global share of emission of OECD member countries – a group of what would be considered as ‘developed’ countries.
It had been thought that recent recessions in many countries caused by the global financial crisis would have resulted in a temporary slowing of rises in emissions. But these latest figures suggest that the recession and drop in national outputs has had little affect on the pace of rising emissions.
Government are arriving in Bonn, Germany next week as part of another round of UN organised talks on a global climate treaty. However, many are cautious on the potential of progress to be made in Bonn considering the past record of Copenhagen and Cancun.
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