Until recently, you might be forgiven for thinking that the oceans were a trivial component of Earth’s climate system, and that the consequences of change were minimal. After all, only 5% of papers published on climate change involve ocean systems. The IPCC, which evaluates peer-reviewed scientific literature, did not devote a regional chapter to the ocean until its most recent major report…As we progress down the road to Paris…Analysis of world’s “carbon budget” (see here and here suggests we can emit about another 500-800 billion tonnes (gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide before we push global temperatures beyond 2C above the pre-industrial average. This gives us about 20 years before net global emissions have to fall to zero – a tall order indeed…Yet here’s a sobering calculation: imagine if rest of world falls into line with the US and Chinese climate targets. How much of the world’s budget would we burn?..answer would be world emitted 1,400 gigatonnes of CO2, or 175-280% of our remaining budget, dragging average global warming to 3C and beyond (see the orange line on the graph below). This would be disastrous for us and our children, and many of the benefits of our oceans (coral reefs, fisheries, coastal living) would be transformed beyond recognition.
de-carbonise, zero carbon, global warming, climate change, renewable energy, phillip island, bass coast
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