No quick fix in fight against global warming
Slashing greenhouse gas emissions would probably not yield visible results until mid-century, researchers have said, cautioning that humanity must manage its expectations in the fight against global warming.
Even under optimistic scenarios in which carbon pollution falls sharply, climate change will continue for decades, they reported on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
Two factors will make it difficult to feel and measure a drop in Earth’s surface temperature, if and when that happens.
One is lag time – Over the past half-century, human activity has loaded the atmosphere with more than 1-trillion tonnes of planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas that lingers for hundreds of years.
The second factor is natural variability – Over the past half-century the planet has warmed 0.2°C every decade, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels.