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The challenge to keep global warming below 2 °C

The latest carbon dioxide emissions continue to track the high end of emission scenarios, making it even less likely global warming will stay below 2 °C. A shift to a 2 °C pathway requires immediate significant and sustained global mitigation, with a probable reliance on net negative emissions in the longer term.

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Figure 1: Estimated CO2 emissions over the past three decades compared with the IS92, SRES and the RCPs.
Figure 2: Growth rates of historical and scenario CO2 emissions.

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Acknowledgements

This work is a collaborative effort of the Global Carbon Project, a joint project of the Earth System Science Partnership, to provide regular analyses of the main global carbon sources and sinks (http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/). G.P.P. and R.M.A were supported by the Norwegian Research Council (project 221355/E10). T.B. and the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) are supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research. C.L.Q. thanks the UK Natural Environment Research Council (project NE/103002X/1) and the European Commission (project FP7-283080) for support. J.G.C. and M.R.R. thank the Australian Climate Change Science Program for support.

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All authors contributed to the planning of the paper. G.P.P. led the work. G.M. and T.B. contributed the updated CO2 emission data. R.M.A. prepared the figures and associated analysis. G.P.P. did the 2012 emission estimate and the analysis of the historical reduction rates. All authors contributed to data interpretation and to the writing of the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Glen P. Peters.

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Peters, G., Andrew, R., Boden, T. et al. The challenge to keep global warming below 2 °C. Nature Clim Change 3, 4–6 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1783

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