Global greenhouse gas emissions are on track to use up the world’s entire carbon budget for this century by 2040, according to the World Energy Outlook 2014 released last week by the International Energy Agency.
“Because the effect of carbon in the atmosphere is cumulative, staying below that threshold requires a hard limit on the amount of carbon the world emits between now and 2100,” Climate Progress explains. “We’ve already blown through a bit over half of that,” and “on our current course, we’ll chew through the rest by 2040.”
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While the IEA foresees renewable energy overtaking coal as the world’s leading source of electricity by 2040, with coal and oil use plateauing, fossil fuels will still account for 75% of global energy consumption.
“To remain under 2°C, all world carbon emissions would have to immediately drop to zero after that year, which of course they won’t,” Spross writes. “That, according to IEA, puts us on course for roughly 3.6°C of global warming by 2100,” far above the 2°C limit that will be needed to avert runaway climate change.
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