We all now know what is needed in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions in order to avert the climate change catastrophe which we are currently seeing played out in real time in news reports. If in any doubt, simply read the 42 page Summary for Policymakers produced by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change as part of its August 2021 report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years and the scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years. Every inhabited region across the globe is affected. It is clear that things are going to get worse before they get better: the best that could probably be achieved is to minimise the level and duration of dangerous global warming and to reverse the trend by the end of the century. Those living through the century are going to be in for a hard time, with unfortunately the poorest and most disadvantaged probably suffering most. But at least there could be hope for the 22nd century. Even achieving that will however require a massive shift. The near-certain linear relationship between human greenhouse gas emission and temperature mean that every tonne of CO2 emitted by humanity will add to the problem.
You can read Stephen Tromans’ full post on our Energy and Environment Hub here.