2° is too much
This takes into account that the world has already warmed by 0.7°C since pre-industrial times. The margin for manoeuvre becomes tighter.
The 2°C threshold is based on the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
This threshold has been accepted by many governments, including the Prime ministers and Presidents of all 25 European Union member states.
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Where do we draw the line on CO2 emissions?
- If CO2 concentrations were to stay below 400ppm, staying below 2°C would be likely. However, given current energy and power infrastructures, it is very unlikely that we can keep concentrations that low.
- A level of 550ppm is very unlikely to keep us below 2°C and could even mean overshooting 4°C.
- At 475ppm the prospect of staying below 2°C is still rather slim. If 475ppm was the peak and a rapid decrease followed, by the year 2100, we have at least options to stabilise at a temperature 2°C higher than pre-industrial times.
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Source: Meinshausen, M, What does a 2°C target mean for greenhouse gas concentrations? In ‘Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change’, 2006, Cambridge University Press