Limiting Global Warming Is Not Enough
Science Daily (press release)
July 4, 2013 — So far, international climate targets have been restricted to limiting the increase in temperature.
But if we are to stop the rising sea levels, ocean acidification and the loss of production from agriculture, CO2 emissions will have to fall even more sharply.
But now, a study carried out by climate researchers based in Bern shows that the focus on the temperature increase alone is by no means enough to meet the ultimate, overarching objective – to protect the climate system from dangerous anthropogenic interference.
This is because, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 1992, the climate system comprises the "totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, geosphere and their interactions." The Framework Convention also calls for the sustainability of ecosystems and food production. All of this can scarcely be realised by the two-degree target alone.
This is why Dr. Marco Steinacher, Prof. Fortunat Joos and Prof. Thomas Stocker are proposing a combination of six different specific global and regional climate targets in their work, which has just been published in the «Nature» journal.
They say that a global temperature target is «neither sufficient nor suitable» to avoid further damage that is relevant for communities and ecosystem services. These include in particular: rising sea levels, ocean acidification – which threatens coral reefs – and production on agricultural land.