Helpfully confirming the mess we're in over climate climate, the new AVOID report surely must help to redouble efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The headline messages are stark. An evens chance of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius is no longer feasible - 1.6 is the very best we could do 'at the absolute extremes of what is presently consered feasible'. To limit to 2 degrees Celsius, emissions must start falling by 2016 and decline thereafter by 3.5% each year, the maximum feasible rate. If we manage to bring that forward a couple of years, then a 2.7% annual reduction would do the trick. Whereas if we leave our emissions peak until 2020, and declien at 2% a year, then we can exect a 2.2 degree temperature rise
The AVOID team, comprising scientiest from the Met Office, Tyndall Centre and the Grantham and Walker Institutes, offers a crumb of comfort, not so much a silver bullet as a scatter of lead shot. We could remove CO2 from the atmosphere, by bio-energy crops combined with carbon capture and storage, on a large scale. But you'll have read the issue on those, in recent posts on this blog and doubtless elsewhere too. Indeed, the AVOID report also raises all the problems - food security, water stress, creating a production and transport system, massive land use change and habitat converstion; and all in the face of a world with declining suitability of land for crops and productivity of key crops, from climate change.
And as the graph below shows, also from the report, this only buys us 10 years. Or lower emisions reduction rates rom 2016. And still, a 1.6 degree threshold which we cannot escape.
So, how do you think we should speed up progress on decarbonising our energy system?