Assessing the size and uncertainty of remaining carbon budgets

Lamboll, R., Nicholls, Z. ORCID:, Smith, C. ORCID:, Kikstra, J. ORCID:, Byers, E. ORCID:, & Rogelj, J. ORCID: (2022). Assessing the size and uncertainty of remaining carbon budgets. Nature Portfolio 10.21203/ (Submitted)

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The remaining carbon budget (RCB), the net amount of carbon dioxide humans can still emit without exceeding a chosen global warming limit, is often used to evaluate political action against the goals of the Paris Agreement. RCB estimates for 1.5C are small, and minor changes in their calculation can therefore result in large relative shifts. Here we evaluate recent RCB assessments by the IPCC and explain differences between them. We present calculation refinements together with robustness checks that increase confidence in RCB estimates. We conclude that the RCB for a 50% chance of keeping warming to 1.5C is around 300 GtCO2 as of January 2022, less than 8 years of current emissions. This estimate changes to 530 and 110 GtCO2 for a 33% and 66% chance, respectively. Key uncertainties affecting RCB estimates are the contribution of non-CO2 emissions, which depends on socioeconomic projections as much as on geophysical uncertainty, and the potential warming after net zero is reached.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Integrated Assessment and Climate Change (IACC)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Sustainable Service Systems (S3)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2022 07:18
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2022 07:18

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