Realization of Paris Agreement pledges may limit warming just below 2 °C

Meinshausen, M., Lewis, J., McGlade, C., Gütschow, J., Nicholls, Z. ORCID:, Burdon, R., Cozzi, L., & Hackmann, B. (2022). Realization of Paris Agreement pledges may limit warming just below 2 °C. Nature 604 (7905) 304-309. 10.1038/s41586-022-04553-z.

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Over the last five years prior to the Glasgow Climate Pact1, 154 Parties have submitted new or updated 2030 mitigation goals in their nationally determined contributions and 76 have put forward longer-term pledges. Quantifications of the pledges before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) suggested a less than 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius2,3,4,5. Here we show that warming can be kept just below 2 degrees Celsius if all conditional and unconditional pledges are implemented in full and on time. Peak warming could be limited to 1.9–2.0 degrees Celsius (5%–95% range 1.4–2.8 °C) in the full implementation case—building on a probabilistic characterization of Earth system uncertainties in line with the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report6 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We retrospectively project twenty-first-century warming to show how the aggregate level of ambition changed from 2015 to 2021. Our results rely on the extrapolation of time-limited targets beyond 2030 or 2050, characteristics of the IPCC 1.5 °C Special Report (SR1.5) scenario database7 and the full implementation of pledges. More pessimistic assumptions on these factors would lead to higher temperature projections. A second, independent emissions modelling framework projected peak warming of 1.8 degrees Celsius, supporting the finding that realized pledges could limit warming to just below 2 degrees Celsius. Limiting warming not only to ‘just below’ but to ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius urgently requires policies and actions to bring about steep emission reductions this decade, aligned with mid-century global net-zero CO2 emissions.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Integrated Assessment and Climate Change (IACC)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2022 10:50
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2022 05:00

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