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The long-term objective for climate change policy is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that avoids 'dangerous anthropogenic interference' with the global climate.

Brian C. O'Neill and Michael Oppenheimer propose several plausible interpretations of 'dangerous interference' in terms of particular environmental outcomes and examine the consistency between the Kyoto Protocol and emissions changes over time that would avoid these outcomes.

Although the emissions limits required by the Kyoto Protocol would reduce warming only marginally, we show that the accord provides a first step that may be necessary for avoiding dangerous interference.

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Reference: Science 296, 1971 (2002)

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