Our Low-Carbon Future

If we continue with business-as-usual emissions from activities such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests, the probable rise in global average temperature relative to pre-industrial times will be 5˚C or more. If we begin to address the problem now, we stand to enter the most dynamic and innovative period in economic history.

LONDON – The United Nations climate change conference, to be held in Copenhagen this December, should provide the climax to two years of international negotiations over a new global treaty aimed at addressing the causes and consequences of greenhouse-gas emissions.

A global deal on climate change is urgently needed. Concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached 435 parts per million (ppm) of CO2-equivalent, compared with about 280 ppm before industrialization in the nineteenth century.

If we continue with business-as-usual emissions from activities such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests, concentrations could reach 750 ppm by the end of the century. Should that happen, the probable rise in global average temperature relative to pre-industrial times will be 5˚C or more.

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