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  • Ryan Wittler

Computer Models Show Several Paths to Ending Global Warming

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Earlier this month, a landmark report released by the United Nations showed that climate change is accelerating and it’s human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases that are the culprit.

The scientists behind the report found that in order to meet the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement (to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius), there would need to be “unprecedented, transformational change” by countries agreeing to limit emissions.

The good news:

While the report seemingly spelled disaster, it also noted several pathways to reducing our global emissions and meeting the 2015 Paris goal.

According to NPR, to find these pathways, scientists use computer simulations called “integrated assessment models” (there are about six major versions of them available worldwide), and using these simulations, they found that governments have “choices available to the decision-maker” in terms of how they would like to reduce emissions going forward.

Under some scenarios, emission reduction is accomplished through changes like people giving up their car to use public transit. Under others, no one gives up their cars, but all new ones sold are electric. And under others, advances in technology mean we don’t really have to make any changes, aside from building more wind and solar stations.

Scientists finding choices to reduce emissions can be important because it should ease concerns of governments worldwide that may be reluctant to make change. However, the scientists also note that the simulations may not be truly feasible, as they don’t account for political obstruction or human preference.

That’s science for “politics and conspiracy theories will probably f**k this up.”

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