Uncertainty in an Emissions Constrained World: Case Austria

Jonas M (2012). Uncertainty in an Emissions Constrained World: Case Austria. Publishable Final Report, submitted to Austrian Climate Research Programme (ACRP 2010; Project B068706), Vienna, Austria, 23pp

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Abstract

The focus of our study is on uncertainty and its role in reconciling short-term commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to meet long-term climate change objectives in the form of temperature targets. This topic had not been addressed adequately so far. The overall objective of our study is to integrate and expand our understanding of uncertainty in emissions across temporal scales. The motivation behind studying the issue of integration was twofold: We want (1) to know how to combine diagnostic (looking back in time) and prognostic (looking forward in time) uncertainty consistently and, thus, to bridge short and long-term perspectives (narrowly defined integration); and (2) to apply this knowledge to demonstrate its relevance in the context of translating mid-term emission constraints to emission targets on both the near-term time scale and the national scale (broadly defined integration). Our intention is to help avoid that the two scientific communities involved . the one coming from the short-term or emission-inventory end and the one coming from the long-term or climate-modeling end . continue following their research agendas without knowing how to integrate the uncertainty expertise of the other.

We establish a holistic emissions-temperature-uncertainty framework which allows any country to understand its national and near-term mitigation and adaptation efforts in a globally consistent and long-term emissions-temperature context. In this context, cumulative emissions are constrained and globally binding, and whether or not compliance with an agreed temperature target has actually been achieved is uncertain. The framework addresses the two objectives by way of studying various country examples.

Our study goes beyond current discussions on whether or not the future increase in global temperature can be kept below the 2 degrees C (more likely: 4 degrees C) temperature target. We show how to combine, and apply, diagnostic and prognostic uncertainty to broaden our knowledge base and take more educated (precautionary) decisions to reduce emissions in lieu of an agreed future temperature target; how to go about risk as an additional variable in dealing with both diagnostic and prognostic uncertainty; and address the difficulties to adequately embed cumulative emissions from land use and land-use change in an emission-constraining framework as well as the limits of treating uncertainty and risk in the case of sparse data as given, in general, for reporting technospheric GHG emissions by non-Annex I countries and for reporting emissions from land use and land-use change by all countries.

Item Type: Other
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Bibliographic Reference: Publishable Final Report, submitted to Austrian Climate Research Programme (ACRP 2010; Project B068706), Vienna, Austria, 23pp
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:47
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2016 16:47
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/10131

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