Global warming could stabilise if we reach zero emissions

If net zero goals are reached by 2050 then global temperature increases could stabilise within a few decades, giving renewed hope for future control of the climate crisis.

New research suggests that global warming could be steadied within a few decades if we reach zero carbon emissions.

It’s long been thought that planetary shifts in temperature would be ‘locked in’ and continue for generations, even if we successfully lowered emission rates to zero by 2050. This is due to a lag in greenhouse gas accumulation once it reaches the atmosphere.

However, scientists have now equated for the dynamism of Earth’s natural ecosystems such as oceans, wetlands, and forests, all of which absorb huge amounts of carbon, and reckon we may be able to stabilise global warming quicker than initially believed. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will decrease as a result of these ecosystems if emissions are brought down to zero.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, explained that this means ‘our actions have a direct and immediate impact on surface warming’. We’ve now more of a chance to slow down the rates in which Earth heats within a single generation – if we cut back on emissions.

Over 100 countries have promised to reach net zero by 2050. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be cutting all emissions entirely, but rather balance them with the amount of carbon being removed by forests and natural resources so that the total gross emissions are zero. The US is set to join the pledge once Joe Biden’s presidency begins.

Zeke Hausfather, a climate expert at the Breakthrough Institute, was also eager to stress that this is ‘good news’. He said that the ‘main takeaway is that how much warming happens this century and beyond is up to us’.

A climate lecturer at Imperial College London said he was ‘confident’ that a net zero Earth would make it possible to push down rising temperatures. He added that getting to that target was the ‘foremost task we have to tackle with great urgency’.

The bottom line is simple. We have to get our emissions down as soon as possible, as it’ll likely have a far more immediate and significant impact than we had previously assumed. In an avalanche of anxiety-inducing information and news surrounding climate change, it’s nice to receive something refreshingly hopeful.

Let’s continue to push our governments and co-operations to change their production and manufacturing processes and keep to the 2050 target. It’ll be hard work, but it seems clearer than ever that it’s one of the key ways we’ll have any hope at controlling global warming.

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