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Adjusting mitigation pathways to stabilize climate at 1.5 and 2.0 °C rise in global temperatures to year 2300

Adjusting mitigation pathways to stabilize climate at 1.5 and 2.0 °C rise in global temperatures to year 2300
Adjusting mitigation pathways to stabilize climate at 1.5 and 2.0 °C rise in global temperatures to year 2300
To avoid the most dangerous consequences of anthropogenic climate change, the Paris Agreement provides a clear and agreed climate mitigation target of stabilizing global surface warming to under 2.0 °C above preindustrial, and preferably closer to 1.5 °C. However, policy makers do not currently know exactly what carbon emissions pathways to follow to stabilize warming below these agreed targets, because there is large uncertainty in future temperature rise for any given pathway. This large uncertainty makes it difficult for a cautious policy maker to avoid either: (1) allowing warming to exceed the agreed target; or (2) cutting global emissions more than is required to satisfy the agreed target, and their associated societal costs. This study presents a novel Adjusting Mitigation Pathway (AMP) approach to restrict future warming to policy-driven targets, in which future emissions reductions are not fully determined now but respond to future surface warming each decade in a self-adjusting manner. A large ensemble of Earth system model simulations, constrained by geological and historical observations of past climate change, demonstrates our self-adjusting mitigation approach for a range of climate stabilization targets ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 °C, and generates AMP scenarios up to year 2300 for surface warming, carbon emissions, atmospheric CO2, global mean sea level, and surface ocean acidification. We find that lower 21st century warming targets will significantly reduce ocean acidification this century, and will avoid up to 4m of sea-level rise by year 2300 relative to a high-end scenario.
2328-4277
601-615
Goodwin, Philip
87dbb154-5c39-473a-8121-c794487ee1fd
Brown, Sally
dd3c5852-78cc-435a-9846-4f3f540f2840
Haigh, Ivan
945ff20a-589c-47b7-b06f-61804367eb2d
Nicholls, Robert
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Matter, Juerg
abb60c24-b6cb-4d1a-a108-6fc51ee20395
Goodwin, Philip
87dbb154-5c39-473a-8121-c794487ee1fd
Brown, Sally
dd3c5852-78cc-435a-9846-4f3f540f2840
Haigh, Ivan
945ff20a-589c-47b7-b06f-61804367eb2d
Nicholls, Robert
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Matter, Juerg
abb60c24-b6cb-4d1a-a108-6fc51ee20395

Goodwin, Philip, Brown, Sally, Haigh, Ivan, Nicholls, Robert and Matter, Juerg (2018) Adjusting mitigation pathways to stabilize climate at 1.5 and 2.0 °C rise in global temperatures to year 2300. Earth's Future, 6 (3), 601-615. (doi:10.1002/2017EF000732).

Record type: Article

Abstract

To avoid the most dangerous consequences of anthropogenic climate change, the Paris Agreement provides a clear and agreed climate mitigation target of stabilizing global surface warming to under 2.0 °C above preindustrial, and preferably closer to 1.5 °C. However, policy makers do not currently know exactly what carbon emissions pathways to follow to stabilize warming below these agreed targets, because there is large uncertainty in future temperature rise for any given pathway. This large uncertainty makes it difficult for a cautious policy maker to avoid either: (1) allowing warming to exceed the agreed target; or (2) cutting global emissions more than is required to satisfy the agreed target, and their associated societal costs. This study presents a novel Adjusting Mitigation Pathway (AMP) approach to restrict future warming to policy-driven targets, in which future emissions reductions are not fully determined now but respond to future surface warming each decade in a self-adjusting manner. A large ensemble of Earth system model simulations, constrained by geological and historical observations of past climate change, demonstrates our self-adjusting mitigation approach for a range of climate stabilization targets ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 °C, and generates AMP scenarios up to year 2300 for surface warming, carbon emissions, atmospheric CO2, global mean sea level, and surface ocean acidification. We find that lower 21st century warming targets will significantly reduce ocean acidification this century, and will avoid up to 4m of sea-level rise by year 2300 relative to a high-end scenario.

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Accepted/In Press date: 26 February 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 March 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 418495
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418495
ISSN: 2328-4277
PURE UUID: 8370bcbc-02c2-4c36-989b-1543f86d6d14
ORCID for Sally Brown: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1185-1962
ORCID for Robert Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109

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Date deposited: 09 Mar 2018 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 03:53

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Contributors

Author: Philip Goodwin
Author: Sally Brown ORCID iD
Author: Ivan Haigh
Author: Robert Nicholls ORCID iD
Author: Juerg Matter

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