The world is driving itself into a future of climate hell, but experts say it's not too late to take the off-ramp.
Despite declining greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and other developed nations, global emissions broke a new record last year. They were pushed 1.4 percent higher than the year before by rapid growth in China and India, and by Japan turning to fossil fuels instead of nuclear power.
During U.N. climate negotiations held in Copenhagen in 2009, most of the world agreed to aim for a post-Industrial Revolution temperature rise of no more than 2 degrees Celsius. But if the world keeps traveling along its current path, the International Energy Agency warns in a new report that long-term average temperature increases of between 3.6 and 5.3 degrees C are more likely.
Climate negotiations are underway to agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which could help stem the tide of rising emissions. But no new agreement is expected to come into force until 2020 -- and who knows if it would even be strong enough to make a difference.
So it would be easy to conclude that we're royally fucked.
But in its new report, the IEA outlines four strategies that countries could pursue during the next seven years to help spare us the "royally fucked" scenario of skyrocketing temperatures -- all at zero net economic cost.