If net-zero emissions are reached, the global crisis may be controlled within a few decades, new research shows.
Scientists say that the earth could be heading for climate catastrophe, but quickly reducing pollution that heat up the globe suggests that global temperatures may stabilize within a few decades. For several years, it was thought that continued global warming would be locked in for centuries, even though emissions were reduced rapidly.
A certain concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was predicted by researchers’ climate simulations of future temperatures.
Recent studies on the impact of net zero pollution, however, give hope that warming may be more rapidly curbed. 100 countries have committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, ensuring that no more carbon dioxide will be emitted than is extracted from the atmosphere, such as by forest regeneration. This net-zero target has been set by the United Kingdom, Japan and the European Union, and soon the United States will join them under the new administration of Joe Biden. If this is done internationally, “surface temperatures will stop warming, and warming will stabilize within a couple of decades,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University. This means our activities have a clear and immediate effect on the warming of the surface.
Scientists have now considered the complexities of Earth’s natural systems, according to which, due to the immense carbon uptake potential of seas, wetlands and forests, a halt in pollution will potentially lead to a decrease in atmospheric CO2 levels.
Mann compares this to filling a sink with water where the drain is partially open – due to the incoming water, the water level continues to increase, but if you decrease the flow of water, it decreases because the drain stays open. “This sinking atmospheric CO2 causes enough cooling to offset the warming from slow ocean heat uptake in the ‘pipeline,’ and after net zero, global temperatures remain relatively flat.” A recent paper that indicates the planet is committed to more than 2C of warming relative to the pre-industrial era, based on the existing atmospheric composition of greenhouse gases, has illustrated the disastrous current trajectory of the world’s environment. In that period, the world has already warmed by 1.1C, and policymakers are committed to restricting the rise to 1.5C to prevent extreme heat wav Dessler said he agrees that even with net-zero pollution, some warming will still occur, but that the decarbonization target is crucial. “The problem is still very serious, we need to reduce emissions as quickly as possible and we will deal with committed warming after that,” he said. Joeri Rogelj, a climate lecturer at Imperial College London, said he was optimistic that it would be possible to eliminate more CO2 from the atmosphere to drive down rising temperatures if the world reached net-zero emissions in the next decades.
“bending the global emissions curve onto a global trajectory toward net zero is the first and most important task we need to address with great urgency.”the first and most important task we need to address with great urgency is to bend the global emissions curve into a global trajectory towards net zero.