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Title: The Effects of Climate Sensitivity and Carbon Cycle Interactions on Mitigation Policy Stringency

Climate sensitivity and climate-carbon cycle feedbacks interact to determine how global carbon and energy cycles will change in the future. While the science of these connections is well documented, their economic implications are not well understood. Here we examine the effect of climate change on the carbon cycle, the uncertainty in climate outcomes inherent in any given policy target, and the economic implications. We examine three policy scenarios—a no policy “Reference” (REF) scenario, and two policies that limit total radiative forcing—with four climate sensitivities using a coupled integrated assessment model. Like previous work, we find that, within a given scenario, there is a wide range of temperature change and sea level rise depending on the realized climate sensitivity. We expand on this previous work to show that temperature-related feedbacks on the carbon cycle result in more mitigation required as climate sensitivity increases. Thus, achieving a particular radiative forcing target becomes increasingly expensive as climate sensitivity increases.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Climatic Change, 131(1):35-50
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States