Long-term climate implications of twenty-first century options for carbon dioxide emission mitigation

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Author(s) Knutti, Reto, Friedlingstein, Pierre, Solomon, S., Plattner, G.-K., Ciais, P., Raupach, M.R.
Publication Type Journal Items, Publication Status: Published
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Title Long-term climate implications of twenty-first century options for carbon dioxide emission mitigation
Author(s) Knutti, Reto
Friedlingstein, Pierre
Solomon, S.
Plattner, G.-K.
Ciais, P.
Raupach, M.R.
Journal or Series Title Nature climate change
Volume Number 1
Issue Number 9
Start Page 457
End Page 461
ISSN 1758-678X
Publisher Nature Publ. Group
Publication Place London
Publication Date 2011-12
Keyword(s) Atmospheric science
Abstract Long-term future warming is primarily constrained by cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide1, 2, 3, 4. Previous studies have estimated that humankind has already emitted about 50% of the total amount allowed if warming, relative to pre-industrial, is to stay below 2 °C (refs 1, 2). Carbon dioxide emissions will thus need to decrease substantially in the future if this target is to be met. Here we show how links between near-term decisions, long-term behaviour and climate sensitivity uncertainties constrain options for emissions mitigation. Using a model of intermediate complexity5, 6, we explore the implications of non-zero long-term global emissions, combined with various near-term mitigation rates or delays in action. For a median climate sensitivity, a long-term 90% emission reduction relative to the present-day level is incompatible with a 2 °C target within the coming millennium. Zero or negative emissions can be compatible with the target if medium to high emission-reduction rates begin within the next two decades. For a high climate sensitivity, however, even negative emissions would require a global mitigation rate at least as great as the highest rate considered feasible by economic models7, 8 to be implemented within the coming decade. Only a low climate sensitivity would allow for a longer delay in mitigation action and a more conservative mitigation rate, and would still require at least 90% phase-out of emissions thereafter.
DOI 10.1038/nclimate1302
Additional Notes Received 20 May 2011, Accepted 31 October 2011, Published online 20 November 2011
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03731
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NEBIS System Number 006397317
Source Database ID FORM-1324024626
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  author = "Knutti, Reto and Friedlingstein, Pierre and Solomon, S. and Plattner, G.-K. and Ciais, P. and Raupach, M.R.",
  title = "{L}ong-term climate implications of twenty-first century options for carbon dioxide emission mitigation",
  journal = "Nature climate change",
  year = 2011,
  volume = "1",
  number = "9",
  pages = "457--461",
  month = dec,

E-Citations record created: Fri, 16 Dec 2011, 08:38:42 CET