News & AnalysisGLOBAL WARMING

Climate Study Highlights Wedge Issue

Science  11 Jan 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6116, pp. 128-129
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6116.128

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Summary

A 2004 paper estimates that humanity could stabilize rapidly rising annual carbon emissions at 2004 levels by 2054 if it embarked on seven massive campaigns that would each prevent 25 billion tons of carbon emissions over 5 decades; the options included building a fleet of nuclear reactors and ending tropical deforestation. The authors dubbed each campaign a "wedge," after the angular shapes formed on a graph used to illustrate the concept. Now, a new study has offered a provocative update to the saga. Colleagues call for a more audacious plan, and calculate that at least a whopping 19 wedges—and perhaps as many as 31—will be needed to stabilize and then phase out carbon pollution.

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