"Hot" topic: What emissions reductions are necessary to respect 2°C climate target?

07/05/2010 – The article “Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2C”, lead authored by PIK-scientist Malte Meinshausen, is one of the most-cited papers in the discipline of Geosciences published during the past two years. The study appeared in the renowned journal Nature. The paper quantified for the first time the emissions reduction requirements for staying below two degrees celsius.
"Hot" topic: What emissions reductions are necessary to respect 2°C climate target?
Cover of 'Nature' April 30, 2009. Credits: 'Nature'

The article has been selected as a “New Hot Paper” by the news company Thomson Reuters. Meinshausen and his team concluded that to achieve a 2C target with a reasonable likelihood, global cumulative emissions must be limited to 1000 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) over the first half of the 21st century with near-zero emissions thereafter. This implies less than half global emissions by 2050 compared to 1990. The study further says that between the years 2000 and 2009, the world has already emitted one third of the remaining carbon budget.

A published work is identified as a Hot Paper if it is less than two years old and has achieved a rate of citations in scientific journals that is markedly higher than papers of comparable type and age. Hot Papers are derived from citation data from across Thomson Reuters Science databases, the world’s largest compilation of the highest quality scholarly literature. New Hot Papers analyses are published bimonthly at ScienceWatch.com."

Article: Meinshausen, M., Meinshausen, N., Hare, W., Raper, S. C. B., Frieler, K., Knutti, R., Frame, D. J. & Allen, M. (2009). Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 C. Nature (458), 1158-1162 (30 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08017

Further reading:

Interview with lead author Malte Meinshausen conducted by Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch: http://sciencewatch.com/dr/nhp/2010/10julnhp/10julnhpMein/

Background material