According to CSIRO, mitigation efforts in the
next few decades will have a large influence on whether greenhouse
gas concentrations in the atmosphere can be stabilised at a level
low enough to reduce the risk of more serious climate change
The Internation Energy Agency, in the 2011 edition of their
anuual publication CO2 Emissions From Fuel Combustion,
produced the following graph showing the continual increase in
global emissions. While 2009 showed a slight decrease after the
Global Financial Crisis, 2010 has reversed that decline, with
annual emissions exceeding 30000 Mt CO2.
Professor John Abraham compares this data to
the IPCC's emissions scenarios.
"Scenario A2 puts us at 850 ppm atmospheric CO₂ in
2100, with an average global surface temperature 3.5°C hotter than
in 2000 (more than 4°C above pre-industrial levels). If we return
back up to Scenario A1FI (fossil fuel intensive), which we were
exceeding until the global financial crisis, we're looking at 950
ppm CO₂ and 4°C global warming over the 21st Century (more than
4.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures in 2100)."
Fatih Birol is the Chief Economist of the IEA, publishers of the
annual global emissions, and has said:
"I am very worried. This is the worst news on
emissions…It is becoming extremely challenging to remain below 2
degrees. The prospect is getting bleaker. That is what the numbers
Two degrees is generally considered the level at which
catastrophic climate change occurs.
To highlight the importance of reducing emissions, below we draw
on CSIRO's "Reducing Australia's greenhouse
ssions" fact sheet which stresses that
broadbased actions are needed given how emissions are tracking.
Limiting greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere requires
broad-based action across many sectors of the global economy. In
Australia, it is a major national undertaking that involves
households, companies, communities and governments.
Mitigation efforts in the next few decades will have a large
influence on whether greenhouse gas concentrations in the
atmosphere can be stabilised at a level low enough to reduce the
risk of more serious climate change impacts. Many impacts can be
avoided, reduced or delayed by mitigating, and cutting net global
greenhouse gas emissions.
Mitigation efforts over the next two to three decades will have
a large impact on opportunities to achieve lower stabilisation
levels and global warming. There will be no single solution to this
challenge - a portfolio of approaches is required to achieve
Practical approaches that Australia can
- Harnessing the sun for green power
- Capturing and storing carbon to clean up coal use
- Using biofuels for lower emission transport
- Reducing emissions in the home
- Farm and forest solutions for greenhouse gas emissions.