Research highlight

Impacts of global aluminium cycle

Nature Climate Change

October 8, 2012

A 50% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, which would bring levels to below 2000 levels, cannot be reached if developing countries’ patterns of aluminium stock follow those of industrialized economies, reports a study published online this week in Nature Climate Change.

Gang Liu and colleagues simulated the future global aluminium cycle and explored its associated emissions pathways and mitigation potentials. They found that the 50% reduction target can only be reached if future global per capita aluminium stocks saturate at 200 kg, a level much lower than in major industrialized countries, which currently ranges between 400 and 600 kg. This indicates that traditional mitigation strategies focusing on emissions-intensity reduction in primary production - such as carbon capture and storage - should be complemented with innovative approaches aiming to reach the same or higher level of service with smaller stocks of material in use, for example, lightweight design and optimization of components.

doi: 10.1038/nclimate1698

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