Policy ForumEnvironment

Energy and Technology Policies for Managing Carbon Risk

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Science  21 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5943, pp. 949-950
DOI: 10.1126/science.1177603

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Despite some uncertainties, today's scientific and political consensus is that the level of global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) needs to lead to atmospheric concentrations somewhere between 450 and 500 parts per million (ppm) (1) to avoid serious, if not catastrophic, effects on life and property. Achieving this goal poses some formidable challenges. There is inertia in the climate system (GHGs survive for generations), as well as in GHG-emitting capital investment. Furthermore, every economic sector and country emits. To meet these challenges, a broad range of actions will be required.