Global warming: a threshold not to cross

The average temperature of the globe must not rise beyond 2 ° C more than before the industrial revolution (that is to say 1750), recommends an international think tank on global warming. Beyond this point, the damage caused by global warming becomes catastrophic, explains the report drawn up by three major think tanks: The Institute for Public Policy Research (Great Britain), The Center for American Progress (USA) and The Australian Institute.

Beyond a 2 ° C increase in global temperature, agricultural losses, the risk of water shortages and irreversible damage to ecosystems increase significantly, estimates the ICCT (International Climate Change Taskforce), which draws on data from the UNFCCC, the United Nations climate study group. At this stage, the ice sheets of western Antarctica and Greenland are in danger of melting; the forests will no longer be carbon sinks but sources of CO2.

Not to exceed a rise of 2 ° C must be the new objective of the leaders of the planet, recommends the ICCT.
Concretely, this amounts to maintaining the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere at 400 ppm. Knowing that it already reaches 379 ppm, the critical threshold is not far.

Read also:  The greenhouse effect

The ICCT report is addressed to governments, who must "recognize that climate change is in the long term the most important issue facing the planet", according to former British Minister Stephen Byers, co-leader of the group. This text will be officially made public tomorrow, as Great Britain takes the lead of the G8 and the European Union. Tony Blair has made the climate one of his priorities.

Among the 10 recommendations of the report is also included:
- create an enlarged G8, including developing countries, dedicated to the fight against global warming;
- increase the share of electricity produced from renewable energies to 25%;
- establish a global action plan for post 2012 including all the countries of the planet.

Cécile Dumas (24 / 01 / 05)

http://sciences.nouvelobs.com/

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