Assessing "Dangerous Climate Change": required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and nature

Hansen, James, Kharecha, Pushker, Sato, Makiko, Masson-Delmotte, Valerie, Ackerman, Frank, Beerling, David J., Hearty, Paul J., Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove, Hsu, Shi-Ling, Parmesan, Camille, Rockstrom, Johan, Rohling, Eelco J., Sachs, Jeffrey, Smith, Pete, Steffen, Konrad, Van Susteren, Lise, von Schuckmann, Karina and Zachos, James C. (2013) Assessing "Dangerous Climate Change": required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and nature. PLoS One, 8 12: e81648.1-e81648.26. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081648


Author Hansen, James
Kharecha, Pushker
Sato, Makiko
Masson-Delmotte, Valerie
Ackerman, Frank
Beerling, David J.
Hearty, Paul J.
Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove
Hsu, Shi-Ling
Parmesan, Camille
Rockstrom, Johan
Rohling, Eelco J.
Sachs, Jeffrey
Smith, Pete
Steffen, Konrad
Van Susteren, Lise
von Schuckmann, Karina
Zachos, James C.
Title Assessing "Dangerous Climate Change": required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and nature
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-12-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0081648
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 12
Start page e81648.1
End page e81648.26
Total pages 26
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Abstract We assess climate impacts of global warming using ongoing observations and paleoclimate data. We use Earth’s measured energy imbalance, paleoclimate data, and simple representations of the global carbon cycle and temperature to define emission reductions needed to stabilize climate and avoid potentially disastrous impacts on today’s young people, future generations, and nature. A cumulative industrial-era limit of ~500 GtC fossil fuel emissions and 100 GtC storage in the biosphere and soil would keep climate close to the Holocene range to which humanity and other species are adapted. Cumulative emissions of ~1000 GtC, sometimes associated with 2°C global warming, would spur “slow” feedbacks and eventual warming of 3–4°C with disastrous consequences. Rapid emissions reduction is required to restore Earth’s energy balance and avoid ocean heat uptake that would practically guarantee irreversible effects. Continuation of high fossil fuel emissions, given current knowledge of the consequences, would be an act of extraordinary witting intergenerational injustice. Responsible policymaking requires a rising price on carbon emissions that would preclude emissions from most remaining coal and unconventional fossil fuels and phase down emissions from conventional fossil fuels.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
Official 2014 Collection
 
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