Climate Researchers Lower Global Warming Forecast on Plans to Cut Emissions

By | December 8, 2014

Climate researchers lowered their forecast for global warming for the first time since 2009 after the greenhouse gas polluters agreed to limit their emissions over the next 15 years, a group of European academics said.

Efforts by the U.S., European Union and China will cut the outlook for global temperatures this century by as much as 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Climate Action Tracker, a joint project by four European institutions.

The improvement is a sign of progress in the effort to rein in climate change spearheaded by the United Nations, which has gathered envoys from 190 nations this week to work on a deal for limiting fossil fuel emissions to be adopted next year. Even so, the 3 degrees Celsius of warming projected by 2100 since the start of the industrial revolution is 50 percent higher than the target envoys have adopted of capping warming at 2 Celsius degrees.

“In the context of increasing momentum towards a global agreement to be adopted in Paris in 2015, this represents a very important first step toward what is needed,” Bill Hare, executive director of one of the groups, Climate Analytics, said in an e-mailed statement.

The report was released today at a round of United Nations climate talks in Lima, Peru.

EU Plan

The EU in October said it’ll cut emissions by 40 percent in the four decades through 2030. Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged last month that his country’s emissions will peak around 2030, as it boosts its use of renewable and nuclear energy. His announcement was made jointly with a pledge by U.S. President Barack Obama to slash emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent in the 20 years through 2025.

The EU, U.S. and China still need to put in place the policies to deliver on their pledges, and without those, the planet is on course to warm by 3.9 degrees, according to the tracker. The pledges would bring that trajectory down to 2.9 degrees to 3.1 degrees of warming, it said.

The tracker is an initiative by Climate Analytics and the NewClimate Institute, both based in Berlin, Ecofys, an energy consultant with offices in the U.S., China, Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands, Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

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