How much can you pump up the atmosphere with greenhouse gases?

Warming in particular lead to the fact that the London City Hall is surrounded by marshes because of the constant spills Thames. (Image PeppermintJ.)

There are international agreements, which need to be taken to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are not the Earth warmed by more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. Now, two studies published in recent years suggest that the timing of the measures are already almost out. Those who do not want the global temperature has increased by more than 2? C, must begin to actively reduce emissions without waiting for the end of the decade.

Estimates of future warming are based on the term "climate sensitivity", which is usually defined as the expected rise in temperature due to doubling of atmospheric CO2.
(The effect of each such doubling decreases with increasing concentration, as it is likely that other molecules of carbon dioxide to the point already absorbed infrared photons.) For the most authoritative assessment of the IPCC, the current climate sensitivity is around 3? C.

The sensitivity of the climate should be calculated with an eye to the future. Here is why.

First, the greenhouse effect is not felt immediately: emission takes time to spread globally, atmospheric levels of CO2 has seasonal fluctuations, the oceans act as a huge heat sink, etc.

Second, infrastructure. Large power plants are very expensive, so we do not tend to send them to a pension until they are completely out of date, and it is many years. In other words, the coal power plant being built today will pump up the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, at least until the middle of the century. And its emissions are heating up the planet even longer.

These two factors taken into account, and the authors of new works, decided to find out how much we can still emit greenhouse gases, if we want to stay within two degrees.

The results of the simple analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The researchers used a simplified climate model, which can reflect the allowable value of climate sensitivity, and tied it with a number of models that predict emissions. It turned out that we are almost there. In order to limit warming to two degrees, 85% of the emission sources must pass emissions peak by the end of the decade.

Another approach is taken compilers report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). It is drawn even more grim picture. The authors have taken for granted is that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide should be limited to 450 parts per million, and that is what came. The existing power stations, buildings and factories by 2035, will require four-fifths of emissions allowed by the energy sector in the framework of the "script-450." If nothing is done by 2017, energy fully exhausted the limit on emissions by 2035. Do you understand? This will be an inevitable process: we will only stand and watch.

In other words, we have five years to begin the large-scale construction of "green" power, or to limit warming to two degrees will be impossible. It is worth noting, by the way, the following: IEA analysts gathered all current obligations of national governments, and found that they are laughable. Even if implemented in full, the temperature of the planet will increase by 3,5? C. If, however, they will remain empty promises, we are waiting for warming by 6? C.

Not only to fight emissions is much cheaper. The IEA said that for every dollar invested is not until 2020, after this point will have to invest over $ 4.3, to compensate for a higher level of emissions …

IEA report much more interesting. For example, states that if Russia had reached Western European levels of energy efficiency, it would annually save as much energy as it consumes the UK.

They say that in order to bring alternative energy to the competitive level, required too much money, so we will be better to invest in old industries. In 2010, as calculated by the IEA, renewable invested only $ 64 billion, while the fossil fuel sector has received more than $ 400 billion if the trend does not change, by 2035, the latter will receive another $ 600 billion, but the problem will not solve the energy supply. By and large, it will be money thrown away.

According to the IEA, peak oil passed in 2008. The total supply of fossil fuels will continue to grow at the expense of other sources, but only for a while, and then begin the shortage and price rise will have. The main consumers will be the developing countries, while the rich countries take the path of energy and electrification of transport.

Boom of natural gas and coal, in a sense to continue. By 2035, their role in the energy equal. About half of the world's supply of coal will be for China. On the other hand, the Middle Kingdom — the largest investor in renewable energy sources so that the outlook may not be true, even more so that coal is more expensive and will take him far.

The only hope is a problem with the supply of fossil fuels, which will force simply switch to alternative energy. This sector will grow faster than any other, but because of the low initial share of its impact on the market for a long time will be negligible. However by 2035, half of commissioned power plants will run on renewable sources.

Good to grow as nuclear power — especially in India, China and Korea, while many other "nuclear" countries from it will be phased out, and rightly so.

Source: Ars Technica

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