Two new reports in Nature warn that the atmosphere is quickly approaching catastrophic concentrations of carbon dioxide. As Keith Johnson of the Wall Street Journal notes, scientists now estimate that the world can only emit 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide between 2000 and 2050.Humanity has already fulfilled one-third of that quota and will only take another 20 years to finish the job.This could result in what scientists consider potentially catastrophic temperature increases.
In order to prevent such a drastic rise in temperatures and avoid the harshest impacts of climate change, the United States needs to cut carbon emissions by 90-95% by 2050.As we blogged back in March, the most ambitious bill in Congress now calls for a reduction of about 80% by 2050, and even that target is under attack as too high by some interest groups.
What does seem to be certain is this: so long as we wait to act, the actions we must take will become more stringent and urgent.In fact, Malte Meinshausen, the author of one of the reports, warns that reductions must occur by 2015 or future action will need to be quite severe to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to start claiming responsibility for your climate impact.Check out our calculators and do your part today!