So far this year, the world has poured record amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, with a strong rise of 2.5% over 2013 levels, totalling at 40 billion tonnes.
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A report, published by Nature Geoscience has found that as this trend continues, the annual Carbon Budget which is allocated by world leaders to restrict global emissions in order to prevent an overall temperature rise of 2C, will be used up in less than 30 years.
Scientists have predicted catastrophic and irreversible changes to the environment if this budget is exceeded – inspiring recent marches and movements worldwide ahead of the approaching UN climate summit in New York. Ban Ki-moon, the UN’s general secretary, is expected to lead 120 countries in talks regarding a global commitment to curbing greenhouse emissions.
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Dave Reay, professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, talking to the Guardian, said, “If this were a bank statement it would say our credit is running out. We’ve already burned through two-thirds of our global carbon allowance and avoiding dangerous climate change now requires some very difficult choices.
“Not least of these is how a shrinking global carbon allowance can be shared equitably between more than 7bn people and where the differences between rich and poor are so immense.”
The report has also highlighted that China’s emissions have now surpassed the EU’s total carbon footprint, between 2013 and 2014, and is still regarded as the world’s largest polluter.
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