Reaching the EU's goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures to below 2°C would require keeping CO2 concentration in the atmosphere at a maximum of 450 parts per million (ppm). But according to the UK government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, such a target may not be reached.
"To aim for 450 (ppm) would, I am afraid, seem unfeasible," he told a news conference as reported by the BBC on 30 January. Sir David King was presenting the final report of an international scientific conference, held in Exeter last year, on avoiding dangerous climate change. The conference report was published on 30 January 2006.
A rise in temperature below the EU's 2°C target may be enough to melt the Greenland ice sheet, the report concludes. "Complete or partial deglaciation of Greenland may be triggered for even quite modest [greenhouse gas] stabilisation targets," it says.
"Technological options for significantly reducing emissions over the long term already exist," says the report. But it warns "major investment is needed now in both mitigation and adaptation" technologies if they are to be achieved.
Recommended technologies include "energy efficiency, nuclear energy, low-emission transport fuels and fossil fuel power plants with CO2 capture and storage".
In a related development, President George W. Bush urged the US to put an end to its oil addiction in his annual state of the union address before Congress. He said he would seek a 22% increase in R&D funding into clean energy.