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Urgent CO2 cuts may spare millions hardship: Report

Published on Jan 14, 2013 6:09 AM
 
Tens of millions of people may be spared droughts and floods by 2050 if Earth-warming carbon emissions peak in 2016 rather than 2030, scientists said on Sunday. -- PHOTO : AP

PARIS (AFP) - Tens of millions of people may be spared droughts and floods by 2050 if Earth-warming carbon emissions peak in 2016 rather than 2030, scientists said on Sunday.

Climate researchers in Britain and Germany said emission cuts now would delay some crippling impacts by decades and prevent some altogether.

By 2050, an Earth heading for warming of 2-2.5 deg C by 2100 could have two very different faces, depending on the route taken to get there, said their study published in the journal Nature Climate Change Policies that cap Earth-warming carbon emissions in 2016 and then reduce them by five per cent per year could see between 39 and 68 million people spared exposure to a higher risk of water shortages by 2050, Dr Nigel Arnell of the University of Reading told AFP.

This is the best-case scenario, though. In contrast, if emissions peak in 2030 and fall by five per cent annually, the number who escape this risk drops to between 17 and 48 million. Similarly, about 100-161 million people would avoid a higher risk of river flooding on the 2016-peak scenario.

 
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