June 15, 2009

Global warming, CO2 linkage confirmed

Canadian scientists say they have discovered a direct relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

Concordia University Professor Damon Matthews said he used a combination of global climate models and historical climate data to show there is a simple linear relationship between total cumulative emissions and global temperature change.

He said the findings mean that scientists can now say: If you emit a ton of carbon dioxide, it will lead to 0.0000000000015 degrees of global temperature change. He said that if we want to restrict global warming to no more than 2 degrees, we must restrict total carbon emissions from now until forever to little more than half a trillion tons of carbon, or about as much again as we have emitted since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Most people understand that carbon dioxide emissions lead to global warming, Matthews said, but it is much harder to grasp the complexities of what goes on in between these two end points. Our findings allow people to make a robust estimate of their contribution to global warming based simply on total carbon dioxide emissions.

The study appears in the journal Nature.