Climate Q&A

If we stabilized greenhouse gas emissions at today’s rates, would global warming stop?

No. Carbon dioxide levels are rising because we currently emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than natural processes like photosynthesis and absorption into the oceans can remove. Therefore, stabilizing emissions at today’s rates will not stop global warming: our carbon dioxide “deposits” would still exceed natural “withdrawals.” Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would continue to increase, and temperatures would continue to rise. To stop global warming, we will have to significantly reduce not just stabilize, emissions in coming decades.

CO2 Concentration Scenarios
  1. References

  2. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. (2004, April 2). Greenhouse Gases, Climate Change, and Energy. Accessed June 29, 2007.
  3. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Chapter 10: Global Climate Projections In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor, and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge, United Kingdom, and New York, New York: Cambridge University Press.

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