Scientists propose ‘carbon law’ as a means to halve emissions every decade

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Scientists have proposed a new method that they claim has the potential of halving emissions every decade thereby enabling us to keep the global warming below the 2°C mark.

The new approach named ‘carbon law’ has been proposed in journal Science and this method could help the global economy quickly reduce carbon emissions says the team behind the proposed solution. The ‘carbon law’ is based on Moore’s Law in the computer industry and scientists say it applies to cities, nations and industrial sectors.

Moore’s Law states that computer processors double in power about every two years. While it is neither a natural nor legal law, this simple rule of thumb or heuristic has been described as a “golden rule” which has held for 50 years and still drives disruptive innovation.

As per the Paris Agreement, all the countries will have to work towards ensuring that the global temperature rise is limited to “well below 2°C” from preindustrial times. To achieve this goal, it is the ‘carbon law’ approach that will help says the international team of scientists by halving emissions every decade.

Scientists point out the efforts geared towards halving emissions should be complemented by equally ambitious, exponential roll-out of renewables. For example, doubling renewables in the energy sector every 5-7 years, ramping up technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and rapidly reducing emissions from agriculture and deforestation.

As per the proposed ‘carbon law, the use of coal and oil should be ended by 2030-2035 and 2040-2045 respectively. They propose that to remain on this trajectory all sectors of the economy need decadal carbon roadmaps that follow this rule of thumb, modeled on Moore’s Law.

The paper notes that a “carbon law” offers a flexible way to think about reducing carbon emissions. It can be applied across borders and economic sectors, as well as both regional and global scales.

Following a “carbon law”, which is based on published energy scenarios, would give the world a 75 per cent chance of keeping Earth below 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures, the target agreed by nations in Paris in 2015.