Tuesday , March 21 2023

Here's a way we can avoid a climate disaster


How can people curb catastrophic climate change? We can phase out fossil fuel emitters – such as coal-fired power plants, jet fuel and laminated cars – when they reach their retirement age, discovering a new study.

Now we have to start doing it, the researchers said.

If the public really did, we would have a 64% chance of limiting the average global temperature increase to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels, says researcher researcher Christopher Smith, postdoctoral researcher at Climate and Environment Institute. Atmospheric science at Leeds University, England. [6 Unexpected Effects of Climate Change]

"We can remove all the fossil fuel emission infrastructure we have until it reaches its end of life," Smith said Live Science. "And then we would replace it with something [that emits] zero carbon. "

However, this plan, although scientifically grounded, is probably a heavenly idea that will not happen soon, said Donald Wuebbles, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois, who was not involved in research. .

"It just won't happen," Wuebbles told Live Science. "It's much cheaper to upgrade existing equipment than it is completely shut down."

Above all, most likely, at some point, not tomorrow, there will most likely be a separation from fossil fuels. Generally, the public needs about 40 to 50 years to change their key energy sources, such as coal to nuclear power plants. "I think it is [from fossil fuels to renewable energy] will happen a little faster, but it will still be difficult, ”said Wuebbles.

The Smith team chose a 2.7-degree F (1.5-degree C) benchmark because it is a temperature increase that could unleash extreme floods in small island states, he said. "Sea level rise between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming [celsius] it would literally be a life or death for them, ”said Smith.

And because climate change does not affect the linear trajectory (instead of getting much worse at high warming levels), an increase of 3.6 degrees F (2 ° C) could be catastrophic, Smith noted. That means "it is probably better to turn [1.5 degrees C] and miss it a little more than it is to say that 2 degrees are good, ”said Smith [degrees C] still much better than 2. I would definitely say that we should be ambitious, and the part of warming we can avoid is a good thing. "

So he and his colleagues worked to find out if people can stick to the 2.7-degree F (1.5 degrees) C benchmark if the company stops fossil fuel sources worldwide and then replaces them with zero carbon alternatives. It was possible they found; if the plan were followed, carbon dioxide emissions would be almost zero after 40 years. [The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted]

"If we do not build a new fossil fuel infrastructure, there is a good chance that we will avoid the worst effects of climate change," said Smith. There is also hope on the horizon, he added. Even if some federal governments do not act, some state governments and companies are. For example, in December 2018, the shipping giant Maersk undertook to become carbon neutral by 2050.

But people have to act quickly, Smith noted. If governments and the private sector start phasing out fossil fuels by 2030, there will be only 50 percent of the world 's ability to maintain an average temperature increase of 2.7 degrees F, even if the fossil fuel level is accelerated by retirees, researchers discovered.

Meanwhile, the transition is likely to happen, but much slower than the study plan requires, Wuebbles said. "I think I agree with the concept of the document, it's an interesting job, he said." I just don't see the political system, unfortunately. "

The study also has two main objections. First, it "does not consider the practical feasibility of this transition", but rather focuses on the numbers the researchers wrote in the study. This is a high order, as phasing out fossil fuel issuers will be a costly and time-consuming task, especially in sectors that do not yet have good green energy, such as aviation.

In addition, the study does not take into account the difficult predictors of climate change, such as the eternal bone melting or forest landslides that were not included in their model, says Smith. But even if these events happen, man-made greenhouse gas containment remains valuable, Smith said.

The study was published online today (January 15) in Nature Communications.

Originally published Live Science.

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