A new GRL paper by Matthews and Caldeira suggests that, in order to stabilise the computer modelled future climate, CO2 emissions need to be reduced to near-zero.
The abstract of the paper is below:
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L04705, doi:10.1029/2007GL032388, 2008
H. Damon Matthews
Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford, California, USA
Current international climate mitigation efforts aim to stabilize levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, human-induced climate warming will continue for many centuries, even after atmospheric CO2 levels are stabilized. In this paper, we assess the CO2 emissions requirements for global temperature stabilization within the next several centuries, using an Earth system model of intermediate complexity. We show first that a single pulse of carbon released into the atmosphere increases globally averaged surface temperature by an amount that remains approximately constant for several centuries, even in the absence of additional emissions. We then show that to hold climate constant at a given global temperature requires near-zero future carbon emissions. Our results suggest that future anthropogenic emissions would need to be eliminated in order to stabilize global-mean temperatures. As a consequence, any future anthropogenic emissions will commit the climate system to warming that is essentially irreversible on centennial timescales.
So, ’emission impossible’ becomes even more difficult. The only way to achieve near-zero emissions is via air capture of CO2.