Bangkok - Keeping climate change below 2 degrees Celsius between now and 2050 is possible if both rich and poor countries stick to a strict "carbon budget," the World Wildlife Fund for Nature said in a new report released Friday.
According to the WWF, the total carbon budget - the amount of tolerable global emissions over a period of time - has to be set roughly at 1,600 gigatons carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2eq) between the years 1990 and 2050.
CO2eq describes the amount of CO2 that would have the same global warming potential as a given mixture and amount of greenhouse gases.
As the world has already emitted a large part of this, the remaining budget from today until 2050 is only 970 gigatons CO2eq.
"In order to avoid the worst and most dramatic consequences of climate change, governments need to apply the strictest measures to stay within a tight and total long-term global carbon budget," said Stephan Singer, director of global energy policy at the WWF.
The WWF report was released on the sidelines of the United Nations climate change talks held in Bangkok this week and next to set the agenda for a new climate deal to be decided in Copenhagen in December.
One of the key goals for a new deal, which is to replace the Kyoto protocol that ends in 2012, is to get industrialized nations to commit to drastic cuts in carbon emissions between now and 2050 to keep climate change below the 2-degree-Celsius threshold.
Developing countries will also be required to slow their carbon emissions.
"If governments relax the rules according to which they distribute emissions, we will end up in climate chaos," Singer warned.
"Ultimately, a global carbon budget is equal to a full global cap on emissions," he said.
The report offers three different ways to distribute the burden and the benefits of a global carbon budget, all of which are under discussion at the ongoing negotiations in Bangkok.
The Bangkok talks aim at reducing a draft negotiating text for Copenhagen from 280 pages to less than 40, clarify the key principles and methods governments must commit to for slowing climate change over the next 40 years.
Scientists have warned that a rise in temperatures above 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 would be catastrophic for the world, whereas keeping it below 2 degrees is manageable. (dpa)