Since the industrial era, we’ve rapidly increased the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses that cause climate change. As a result, we are on pace to raise the global temperature higher than at any time in human history - increasingly exposing us to events triggered by climate change such as extreme weather, receding ice sheets and rising sea levels. And climate change’s effects on complex ecosystems like tundra and rain forests could accelerate warming, putting temperature mitigation beyond human control.
With the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the world must, by 2020, have energy, industry, agriculture and forestry systems that, simultaneously:
Meet societal development needs
Are undergoing the necessary structural transformation to ensure that cumulative net emissions do not exceed one trillion tonnes of carbon(1). Peaking global emissions by 2020 keeps this goal in a feasible range
Are becoming resilient to expected changes in climate.
(1) Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions from preindustrial levels as outlined in the IPCC Working Group I Fifth Assessment Report. One trillion tonnes carbon = 3.67 trillion tonnes CO2.
Explanatory notes are available upon request.