Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why 350? climate policy must aim to stabilise greenhouse gases at the level necessary to minimise the risk of catastropic outcomes

Source: Ecology law currents, vol.36,no.1 (2009)
"In order to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference (DAI) with the climate system, sound climate policy must minimize the risk of severe and irreversible outcomes. A policy objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions at 350 ppm CO2eq, would reduce the mean probability of overshooting a 2°C temperature rise to 7 percent.3 A 350 ppm CO2eq stabilization level is also consistent with that proposed by leading climatologists, who have concluded that in order “to preserve a planet for future generations similar to that in which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted... CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm.”4 While current CO2 levels exceed 350 ppm, a pathway toward 350 ppm is possible though the rapid phase-out of coal emissions, improved agricultural and forestry practices, and possible future capture of CO2 from biomass power plants."