Dr Chris Huntingford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology has led, along with colleagues from the Met Office, Oxford University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Committee on Climate Change, a study analysing what emissions in the policy-relevant years of 2020 and 2050 will keep global warming below two-degrees*. The results of the study were published last week in the open access journal Environmental Research Letters (ERL).
The analysis discussed in the ERL paper was undertaken for a large number of possible future emissions pathways, different ultimate emissions floors (i.e. the minimum fossil fuel required for society to function) - and placed in a full probabilistic framework. The work extends other earlier analyses, and found that emissions must peak in the next few decades, followed by year-on-year emissions reductions of 3% per annum, to have at least a 50% chance of remaining below the two-degrees threshold.
* Two-degrees above pre-industrial global temperature levels
The link between a global 2°C warming threshold and emissions in years 2020, 2050 and beyond. Chris Huntingford, Jason A. Lowe, Laila K. Gohar, Niel H.A. Bowerman, Myles R. Allen, Sarah C.B. Raper and Stephen M. Smith. Environ. Res. Lett. 7 (2012).