in Paris, adopted global climate targets are still achievable. This is the statement of a new study, which was published in the journal “Nature Communications”. Thus, global warming could be limited to the end of the century, even at 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels – the project is considered to be particularly ambitious.

On the climate conference of Paris, had obliged the international community to stabilize the Increase in the average temperature of the earth to be “significantly” below two degrees Celsius and preferably a temperature limit of even 1.5 degrees. The difference of 0.5 degree is especially for the most threatened island States, the threaten about going with a stronger rise in sea level in consequence of global warming. Also, the probability of severe droughts, floods and heat waves in a warming of 1.5 compared to 2.0 degrees.

The gradual dismantling of fossil fuel infrastructure would have to quickly

begin The study authors to Christopher Smith of the University of Leeds in the UK is calculated with the help of computer models, how likely it is that climate protection measures to Meet the objectives of Paris.

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The decisive condition for its investigation is that from now on, with the phasing out fossil-fuel infrastructure – the so-called phase-out is started. This means that All power plants, factories, planes and cars, which are now in operation, would have to be replaced after their service life due to emission-free Alternatives.

In their calculations, Smith and his colleagues about the case of fossil fuel power plants an average life of 40 years, in the case of cars of 15.6 years, and in the case of aircraft of 26 years. This means: Even if a to be the network refers to coal-fired power plant would still remain for 40 years in operation, the most stringent climate goals of Paris, according to the study, with a probability of 64 percent.

40 year lifetime for a coal-fired power plant

The calculations assume that the global CO2 emissions in the next 40 years to zero. If the decision to begin the global phase-out, will only be like in 2030, declining the probability of the 1.5-degree target to under 50 percent.

As the study’s author, Smith, in a contribution himself writes, there are limitations in the accuracy of the examination. So he and his colleagues had made no life cycle analysis of the CO2-free replacement technology. Therefore, not the case the weight that the manufacture of wind needed wheels and solar systems energy and carbon dioxide emissions.

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this is Technically possible, politically questionable

in Addition, the authors for the agriculture sector assume that within the next three years, the particularly high CO2 emissions from the livestock and meat decrease consumption to zero, and the rest of the agriculture gradually to 2100. A particularly unrealistic assumption.

The study is thus primarily a statement about the technical feasibility of climate targets, and not on the likelihood that the necessary actions are taken quickly. The fact lies in the hands of politics, the economy and us.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.