ARTNeT Alerts on Climate Change and Trade Policy
Scientific studies make it cl ear that climate change is already happening, with greenhouse gas emissions induced by human activities as a significant driver of this change. Prior to industrialisation, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was about 280 parts per million (ppm). But by 2007, it has increased to about 382 ppm mainly due to combustion of fossil fuels and significant deforestation in different parts of the world. Methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are the two other major greenhouse gases. The major sources of emission are energy supply and industry. The sectors that are responsible for significant emission are forestry (deforestation leads to decreased capacity of the earth to absorb CO2 and increases emissions), agriculture and transport. The limiting of global average temperature at 2°C from the pre-industrial level would require that the CO2 concentration is stabilised between 445-490ppm. The temperature will continue to rise for a few centuries even after emissions and CO2 concentration are stabilised (IPCC 2007). Such stabilisation would require drastic cuts in emissions.