Extending Near-Term Emissions Scenarios to Assess Warming Implications of Paris Agreement NDCs

J. Gutschow*, Mairi L. Jeffery, Bill Hare, M. Schaeffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the Paris Agreement countries have agreed to act together to hold global warming well below 2°C over preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. To assess if the world is on track to meet this long‐term temperature goal, countries' pledged emissions reductions (Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs) need to be analyzed for their implied warming. Several research groups and nongovernmental organizations have estimated this warming and arrived at very different results but have invariably concluded that the current pledges are inadequate to hold warming below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. In this paper we analyze different methods to estimate 2100 global mean temperature rise implied by countries' NDCs, which often only specify commitments until 2030. We present different methods to extend near‐term emissions pathways that have been developed by the authors or used by different research groups and nongovernmental organizations to estimate 21st century warming consequences of Paris Agreement commitments. The abilities of these methods to project both low and high warming scenarios in line with the scenario literature is assessed. We find that the simpler methods are not suitable for temperature projections while more complex methods can produce results consistent with the energy and economic scenario literature. We further find that some methods can have a strong high or low temperature bias depending on parameter choices. The choice of methods to evaluate the consistency of aggregated NDC commitments is very important for reviewing progress toward the Paris Agreement's long‐term temperature goal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1259
JournalEarth's Future
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2018

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