Opportunities and challenges in using remaining carbon budgets to guide climate policy

Matthews, H.D., Tokarska, K.B., Nicholls, Z.R.J., Rogelj, J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2056-9061, Canadell, J.G., Friedlingstein, P., Frölicher, T.L., Forster, P.M., et al. (2020). Opportunities and challenges in using remaining carbon budgets to guide climate policy. Nature Geoscience 13 (12) 769-779. 10.1038/s41561-020-00663-3.

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Official URL: https://rdcu.be/cbuVD
Project: Constraining uncertainty of multi decadal climate projections (CONSTRAIN, H2020 820829), Coordinated Research in Earth Systems and Climate: Experiments (CRESCENDO, H2020 641816)


The remaining carbon budget represents the total amount of CO2 that can still be emitted in the future while limiting global warming to a given temperature target. Remaining carbon budget estimates range widely, however, and this uncertainty can be used to either trivialize the most ambitious mitigation targets by characterizing them as impossible, or to argue that there is ample time to allow for a gradual transition to a low-carbon economy. Neither of these extremes is consistent with our best understanding of the policy implications of remaining carbon budgets. Understanding the scientific and socio-economic uncertainties affecting the size of the remaining carbon budgets, as well as the methodological choices and assumptions that underlie their calculation, is essential before applying them as a policy tool. Here we provide recommendations on how to calculate remaining carbon budgets in a traceable and transparent way, and discuss their uncertainties and implications for both international and national climate policies.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2020 11:58
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:33
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/16892

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