World won’t cool without geoengineering, warns report

Global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere’s chemistry. This stark warning comes from the draft summary of the latest climate assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Delegates from national governments are discussing the draft this week, prior to its release on Friday morning.

According to one of its lead authors, and the latest draft seen by New Scientist, the report will say: “CO2-induced warming is projected to remain approximately constant for many centuries following a complete cessation of emission. A large fraction of climate change is thus irreversible on a human timescale, except if net anthropogenic CO2 emissions were strongly negative over a sustained period.”

In other words, even if all the world ran on carbon-free energy and deforestation ceased, the only way of lowering temperatures would be to devise a scheme for sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Much of this week’s report, the fifth assessment of the IPCC working group on the physical science of climate change, will reaffirm the findings of the previous four assessments, published regularly since 1990…more

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