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A glimpse into the future

Ever wondered what effect our efforts to limit global warming to two degrees will have on the European economy and labour market by 2050? A new study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) provides some illuminating answers.

Klaus Jacob, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

As demonstrated most recently by events in Copenhagen, international climate conferences are generally pretty tough affairs. But while politicians wrestle over reduction targets and percentage points, we tend to lose sight of the fact that a great deal of hard scientific research has gone into these figures. A veritable army of experts do the preliminary work for the negotiators, so that any potential agreements are not just words uttered in a vacuum.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe recently took the lead in producing a particularly intricate report on global change on behalf of the European Commission. In the report, entitled “ADAM two-degree scenario for Europe – policies and impacts”, ISI researchers worked together with experts from a number of other institutes and countries to gaze far into the future – to the year 2050 – and find answers to questions such as ‘What will Europe have to do in the interim to limit global warming to two degrees?’ and ‘What effects will our efforts to do this have on individual countries’ economies and labor markets?’

Scientists and politicians are now agreed that the Earth’s temperature must not be allowed to rise more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels if the effects on mankind are to be kept within tolerable limits. There is also a general consensus that, as the primary sources of greenhouse gases, the industrial nations must cut their emissions by a far greater amount
than developing and emerging countries.

For them, there is talk of a reduction target of 80 per cent by 2050 compared with the base year of 1990, and the study produced by the ISI has proved that Europe is perfectly capable of achieving this without any detrimental effect on its economy.


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