Avoiding fossil-fuel “lock-in” could help limit global temperature rise

Read the full story from the University of Leeds.

New research suggests there is a 64% chance of limiting the increase in global average temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels if fossil fuel infrastructure is immediately phased out.

An international team of scientists led by the University of Leeds has used a new climate model to determine what would happen to global temperatures if the phase-out process for carbon-intensive infrastructure had begun at the end of 2018.

In the study’s scenario, fossil fuel power plants, cars, aircraft, ships, and industrial infrastructure are replaced with zero carbon alternatives at the end of their design lifetime – the point where large scale refurbishments or maintenance would be required.

The team found that if the process of replacing these systems with zero carbon alternatives – or not replacing them at all – began from the end of 2018 and their subsequent CO2 emissions decreased at close to a linear rate as a result, the chance of keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5°C is 64%.

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