Study shows faster payoff for reaching net-zero by 2050

Solar-powered electric vehicle charging station
A solar powered electric vehicle charging station opened in Como Park in April 2012.
Tim Post | MPR News 2012

The path to net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions, meaning we’re removing the same amount that we emit, is a difficult walk. But a recent study in Nature Climate Change highlights the goal’s urgency — and its reward.

Currently, carbon emissions are still increasing. The paper shows that if we hold emissions at their current level, the world will continue to warm past the goal set in the Paris Climate Agreement.

But here’s the good news: The paper also shows that if the world can reach net-zero by 2050, global temperatures would stabilize within a few decades. That’s more optimistic than some scenarios suggesting temperatures would keep rising.

Mark Zelinka, climate and atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is a co-author of the study and joined Climate Cast this week.

To hear the episode, click play on the audio player above or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast.

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