Like many of its predecessors, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, concluded with bold promises on international climate action aimed at keeping global warming below 2 °C, but to ensure There are some concrete plans that those promises will be fulfilled. kept. While it’s not too late for the nearly 200 signatory nations to the Paris Agreement to take concrete action to reduce global warming to 2C – if not 1.5C – there is no guarantee they will do so. If they fail, how much warmer is the Earth likely to be in the 21st century and beyond?
A new study by researchers from the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and the shale landscape team says that without a globally coordinated mitigation effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the average surface area of the planet could be The temperature will reach 2.8 °C, which is much higher than that. The “below 2C” level that the Paris Agreement aspires to, but falls far short of the many widely used “business-as-usuals” scenario project.
Recognizing the limitations of such scenarios, which generally assume that historical trends in energy technology choices and climate policy inaction will persist for decades to come, researchers have designed an “increasing pressure” scenario that will address increasingly social issues. Responsible for technical, commercial and political. Pressures that are driving a transition away from fossil-fuel use and toward a low-carbon future. Such pressures have led to the expansion of low-carbon technology and policy options, which, in turn, have increased demand for using those options – a trend that is expected to self-reinforce. Under this scenario, a series of future actions and policies lead to a decline in renewable energy and energy storage costs; Fossil fuels to be phased out; electrification for diffusion; And emissions from agriculture and industry will drop sharply.
Incorporating these increasing pressures into the MIT Joint Program’s Integrated Model of Earth and Human Systems, study co-authors project future energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and global average surface temperatures in a world that is coordinated, Fails to implement global climate mitigation policies. And instead it mostly takes piecemeal action at the local and national level.
MIT Joint Program research scientist Jennifer Morris, lead author of the study, says “few, if any, previous studies explore scenarios for how piecemeal climate policies may manifest in the future and affect global temperatures.” ” “We offer such a scenario, considering a future in which the increasingly visible effects of climate change fuel increasing pressure from voters, shareholders, consumers and investors, which in turn will lead to piecemeal action by governments and businesses. that shift investments away from fossil fuels and toward low-carbon alternatives.”
In the central case of the study (representing a mid-range climate response to greenhouse gas emissions), fossil fuels remain in the global energy mix until 2060 and then gradually decrease to zero by 2130; Global carbon dioxide emissions reach near-zero levels by 2130 (total greenhouse gas emissions fall to near-zero by 2150); And global surface temperatures stabilize at 2.8 C by 2150, 2.5 C lower than the widely used “business-as-usual” projection. The results appear in the journal Environmental economics and policy studies.
Such a transition could bring the global energy system to near-zero emissions, but would require more aggressive climate action to keep global temperatures below 2C in alignment with the Paris Agreement.
“While we fully support the need to decarbonize as quickly as possible, it is important to assess realistic alternative scenarios of world development,” says study co-author, Joint Program Deputy Director Sergei Paltsev. “We examine commendable actions that can bring society closer to the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. Combining R&D, technology deployment, infrastructure development, policy incentives and business practices to truly meet those goals A quick transition away from fossil energy through
The study was funded by the government, the Foundation and MIT joint program industrial sponsors, including Shell International Ltd.