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Climate Gas Cuts 'Are Affordable'

By Alex Kirby

Professor Schellnhuber says the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has risen by over 30 percent since the pre-industrial era.

The world can ward off a dangerous rise in temperature much more cheaply than many people think," says Professor John Schellnhuber, research director of the Tyndale Center for Climate Change at the University of East Anglia. He believes the cost of averting runaway climate change could be as low as 0.3 percent of global GDP. But he says there is no simple solution for reducing greenhouse gases, and the world will need a mix of strategies. "There's no magic bullet for climate change - but with a portfolio strategy, we can solve it."

His list of 15 possible ways of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas produced by human activities, is exhaustive. It includes more efficient vehicles and buildings, reduced vehicle use, capturing CO2 at the point of emission, and where possible replacing coal, oil and gas with other fuels. Professor Schellnhuber also argues for cutting deforestation, and for plowing methods that release less CO2. Controversially, in the eyes of some, he proposes the use of nuclear power to replace coal.

So the infrastructure of our cities must become "less brittle and more robust", to help them to withstand harsher conditions. Professor Schellnhuber says the atmospheric the concentration of CO2 has risen to about 380 parts per million (ppm). "In the scientific community we think an atmospheric CO2 concentration of about 450ppm - the equivalent of a 2C rise in temperature - is about the most we can allow. Beyond that you start to reach the tipping points', the unpredictable areas where rapid changes can set in."

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December 14, 2019, 8:01 am PDT

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