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What would happen if we stopped all CO2 emissions tomorrow

(11 Posts)
Yika Sun 24-Dec-17 10:44:20

Would the earth carry on warming as a result of the trends already set in motion? Would warming gradually slow down? Or do we not know?

(Obviously, I know the question is completely hypothetical!)

hevonbu Mon 01-Jan-18 15:44:27

No, it'll increase but increase with a lower speed. But stopping the emissions "tomorrow" is unfortunately not possible. I read an article (think it was in IPE magazine) that we're currently on a "six degree warmer"-course.

Amoregentlemanlikemanner Tue 09-Jan-18 21:27:31

I think we are "committed" to a certain amount of warming.

knittingdad Thu 11-Jan-18 11:02:16

I heard Susan Solomon talk about this as she did some work on it. It turns out that the global temperature would stop rising.

This is because the oceans would continue to absorb some of the carbon dioxide we have released in previous years and so the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would decrease. But this effect would be balanced by the fact that the temperature now is not as high as it would be if we kept CO2 concentrations constant.

knittingdad Thu 11-Jan-18 11:06:15

I think this was the paper.
m.pnas.org/content/106/6/1704

Yika Thu 11-Jan-18 20:03:57

This is really interesting, many thanks for the responses.

reddington Tue 15-May-18 11:17:53

The earth would continue to warm and cool even without the existence of humans. The debate I guess is how much we have influenced it.

NerdyDad Thu 14-Jun-18 10:42:41

This article shows a graph on what may happen if we stopped CO2 emission immediately.

www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/climate-change-commitments/

CO2 would fall as the oceans have not caught up with the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Temperature would stay about the same and then fall slowly.
Sea level would continue to rise, slowly for another century or two as ice on Greenland hasn't had a chance to melt in response to current temperature.

Another study predicts a warming of about 0.4C before it would fall again.
www.researchgate.net/profile/Thomas_Froelicher/publication/259313176_Continued_global_warming_after_CO_2_emissions_stoppage/links/00b4952afc875c32cc000000.pdf

I wonder if these studies accounted for aerosols (dust) released from burning fossil fuels. If we stopped emitting all CO2 we must have stopped burning fuels. Therefore the aerosols in the air would become less which would mean more warming.

knittingdad Sun 26-Aug-18 13:49:50

The studies will have accounted for aerosols, but the problem is that there is so much uncertainty in the strength of that effect that it could be stronger or weaker than the average.

paignton Sun 10-Mar-19 16:01:17

Just a thought... my diesel car is spewing out particulates that can affect folk. So I can give it up and get a petrol car that reduces the particulates totally, but spews out 20% more CO2.
It is a philosophical question I do not know the answer to- do we protect humans as in no diesel, or do we protect the world by producing less CO2? Humans or Planet Earth. Which is more important? Philosophically speaking!

smithsinarazz Fri 15-Mar-19 21:05:40

Well, no point in protecting humans if society collapses due to climate change. But it's not an either/or. We need to put pressure on national and local governments to make public transport, cycling and walking easier, cheaper, safer and more convenient, so that we can reduce car use.

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