Club of Rome sees 2 degree Celsius rise in 40 years

Tue May 8, 2012 11:46am GMT
 

* Carbon emissions will cause 2 degree Celsius rise by 2052

* Rise of 2.8 degrees seen by 2080

By Nina Chestney

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Rising carbon dioxide emissions will cause a global average temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius by 2052 and a 2.8 degree rise by 2080, as governments and markets are unlikely to do enough against climate change, the Club of Rome think tank said.

Failing to tackle climate change in the first half of this century will put the world on a dangerous track to warming in the second half, even though global population should peak in 2042 at 8.1 billion and economic growth will be much slower than expected in mature economies, the Switzerland-based body said in a report on Tuesday.

"It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate-friendly solutions, and (we) must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind," said Jorgen Randers, author of the report.

"We are emitting twice as much greenhouse gases every year as are absorbed by the world's forests and oceans. This overshoot will worsen and will peak in 2030."

In 2010, countries agreed that deep emissions cuts had to be made to keep an increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels this century.

The Club of Rome report sees the 2 degree threshold being reached not at the end of the century, as many forecasters warn, but much sooner.

Scientists say that crossing this threshold risks an unstable climate in which weather extremes are common but efforts so far to cut greenhouse gas emissions are not seen as sufficient to stop a rise beyond 2 degrees this century.

CONSUMPTION

By 2052, China's per capita consumption will be at least two thirds that of the United States, while the average economic growth of 14 emerging nations including Brazil, India and South Africa, will treble over the next 40 years, Randers said.

"This growth will improve living standards for many, but it will come at a cost for the global climate. While growth will not be as explosive as in China, it will still be heavy enough to keep emissions from these nations growing until the 2040s," he added.

By contrast, the mature economies of the United States and Europe will see declining or stable consumption, which should help prevent the depletion of oil, food and water by 2052.

Last year, the United Nations' Environment Programme said the gap between countries' emissions cut pledges and what was needed to remain under 2 degrees had widened and emissions in 2020 would rise to between 6 billion and 11 billion tonnes over what is needed to limit global warming to safe levels.

The International Energy Agency also warned that the world may not be able to limit temperature rise if new international climate action is not taken by 2017 as so many fossil fuel power plants and factories are being built.

A new global climate pact forcing the world's biggest polluters, including the United States and China, to curb emissions will only be agreed on by 2015 - to enter into force by 2020 - seen by many as too late to limit climate damage.

Countries have agreed to raise $10 billion a year in aid from 2010-12 to help developing nations adapt to climate change, rising to $100 billion a year by 2020.

But the economic downturn has constrained government funds, and carbon markets, which should incentivise clean energy investment in the private sector, are failing to deliver. (Editing by Anthony Barker)

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