Strong and rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will help to slow down the rate of global warming over the next 20 years, according to a new study published in the Journal Nature Climate Change.
The researchers at the University of Leeds used thousands of simulations from different climate models alongside multiple estimates of observed natural climate variability to investigate how various levels of emissions cuts could affect the speed of global warming over the next two decades.
The findings revealed that reducing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement will have a substantial effect on slowing down warming rates over the next 20 years.
In comparison, a fossil-fuel heavy future could see temperatures rise by up to 1-1.5°C in the next 20 years – meaning the Paris Agreement temperature limits will be breached well before 2050.
Lead author of the study, Dr Christine McKenna, said: ‘Our results show that it’s not only future generations that will feel the benefits of rapid and deep cuts in emissions. Taking action now means we can prevent global warming from accelerating in the next few decades, as well as get closer to the goal of limiting warming in the longer term.
‘It will also help us to avoid the impacts that more rapid and extreme temperature changes could bring.
‘With global temperatures currently rising at around 0.2?C per decade, without urgent action on climate change we are clearly in danger of breaching the Paris Agreement.
‘These findings are further motivation for both governments and non-state actors to set stringent greenhouse gas mitigation targets, combining a green recovery from the economic impacts of coronavirus with reaching net-zero emissions as soon as possible.’
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