Critical adjustment of land mitigation pathways for assessing countries’ climate progress

Grassi, G., Stehfest, E., Rogelj, J. ORCID:, van Vuuren, D., Cescatti, A., House, J., Nabuurs, G.-J., Rossi, S., et al. (2021). Critical adjustment of land mitigation pathways for assessing countries’ climate progress. Nature Climate Change 10.1038/s41558-021-01033-6.

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Project: Observation-based system for monitoring and verification of greenhouse gases (VERIFY, H2020 776810), Constraining uncertainty of multi decadal climate projections (CONSTRAIN, H2020 820829), Exploring National and Global Actions to reduce Greenhouse gas Emissions (ENGAGE, H2020 821471)


Mitigation pathways by Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) describe future emissions that keep global warming below specific temperature limits and are compared with countries’ collective greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction pledges. This is needed to assess mitigation progress and inform emission targets under the Paris Agreement. Currently, however, a mismatch of ~5.5 GtCO2 yr−1 exists between the global land-use fluxes estimated with IAMs and from countries’ GHG inventories. Here we present a ‘Rosetta stone’ adjustment to translate IAMs’ land-use mitigation pathways to estimates more comparable with GHG inventories. This does not change the original decarbonization pathways, but reallocates part of the land sink to be consistent with GHG inventories. Adjusted cumulative emissions over the period until net zero for 1.5 or 2 °C limits are reduced by 120–192 GtCO2 relative to the original IAM pathways. These differences should be taken into account to ensure an accurate assessment of progress towards the Paris Agreement.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Integrated Biosphere Futures (IBF)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Integrated Assessment and Climate Change (IACC)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2021 07:58
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:34

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