Learn more about the global carbon budget.


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Key points explain the global carbon budget, what impacts we can expect if we exceed it, and what actions the world can take to stay within it.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the world’s foremost collection of climate scientists. Throughout 2013/2014, the group will release its Fifth Assessment Report in four installments, highlighting the current state of the climate system and climate change, its environmental and socio-economic impacts, and mitigation strategies that can limit emissions. Here, WRI provides ongoing analysis of this groundbreaking climate change research—and its potential implications on communities, the economy, and the environment.

The first installment of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report confirms the overwhelming scientific consensus that the impacts of climate change are accelerating, and they’re largely driven by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. For the first time, the report also quantified the global “carbon budget,” the amount of carbon dioxide emissions we can emit while still having a likely chance of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If emissions continue unabated, the world is on track to exceed this budget in only about 30 years—exposing communities to increasingly dangerous forest fires, extreme weather, drought, and other climate impacts.



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