Preparing for a post-net-zero world

King, A.D., Peel, J., Ziehn, T., Bowen, K.J., McClelland, H.L.O., McMichael, C., Nicholls, Z. ORCID:, & Sniderman, J.M.K. (2022). Preparing for a post-net-zero world. Nature Climate Change 12 775-777. 10.1038/s41558-022-01446-x.

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Project: Earth system models for the future (ESM2025, H2020 101003536)


Current greenhouse gas emissions will continue to affect the climate even after we reach net-zero emissions. We must understand how and prepare for a cooling planet.

For the last century, the planet has experienced warming due to humanity’s collective, albeit unequal, greenhouse gas emissions. The rise in global-average temperatures has been accompanied by rapidly warming land and slower warming oceans, rising sea levels and shrinking ice coverage. However, with global greenhouse gas emissions hopefully peaking soon and international, and some national and sub-national, targets in place to reach net-zero emissions (that is, a state where anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere are balanced by anthropogenic removal from the atmosphere), a new and very different climate is potentially on the horizon. Net-zero emissions would probably be followed by net-negative emissions (where anthropogenic removal of greenhouse gases exceeds anthropogenic emissions) as policies to support emissions reductions and greater carbon removal progress. If global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions are reached, then global cooling will probably follow. Under net-negative greenhouse gas emissions, this cooling would be even greater.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Integrated Assessment and Climate Change (IACC)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2022 10:27
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 08:08

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