(179a) Global Climate Change & It's Challenge to Long Term Sustainability


The presentation provides a succinct integration of the projected warming the earth is likely to experience in the decades ahead, the emission reductions needed to constrain this warming, and the technologies needed to achieve these emission reductions. The role that climate change plays in challenging long-term sustainability is discussed. Population growth and the developmental pressures, spawned by an increasing demand for resource intensive goods, foods and services, are altering the planet in ways that threaten it's long-term ability to provide conditions and resources consistent with the long term viability of humans and other species. Transparent modeling tools and the most recent literature are used, to quantify the challenge posed by climate change and potential technological remedies. The presentation examines forces driving CO2 emissions, how different emission trajectories could affect warming this century, a sector-by-sector summary of mitigation options, and R&D priorities. It is concluded that it is too late too avoid substantial warming; the best result that appears achievable, would be to constrain warming to about 2.0 ºC (range of 1.3 to 2.7 ºC) above preindustrial levels by 2100. In order to constrain warming to such a level, the current annual 3% CO2 emission growth rate needs to transform rapidly to an annual decrease rate of from 2 to 3% for decades. Further, the current generation of energy generation and end use technologies are capable of achieving less than half of the emission reduction needed for such a major mitigation program. New technologies will have to be developed and deployed at a rapid rate, especially for the key power generation and transportation sectors.


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