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Title: The contribution of Paris to limit global warming to 2 °C

International negotiators have clearly articulated a goal to limit global warming to 2°C. In preparation for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015, countries are submitting their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change indicating their emissions reduction commitments through 2025 or 2030. Limiting global warming to 2°C is a challenging goal and will entail a dramatic transformation of the global energy system, largely complete by 2040. The deliberations in Paris will help determine the balance of challenges faced in the near-term and long-term. We use GCAM, a global integrated assessment model, to analyze the energy and economic-cost implications of INDCs. The INDCs imply near-term actions that reduce the level of mitigation needed in the post-2030 period, particularly when compared with an alternative path, in which nations are unable to undertake emissions mitigation until after 2030. We find that the latter case could require up to 2300 GW of premature retirements of fossil fuel power plants and up to 2900 GW of additional low-carbon power capacity installations within a five-year period of 2031 to 2035. INDCs have the effect of reducing premature retirements and new-capacity installations after 2030 bymore » 50% and 34% respectively. However, if presently announced INDCs were strengthened to achieve greater near-term emissions mitigation, the 2031-2035 transformation could be tempered to require 84% fewer premature retirements of power generation capacity and 56% fewer new-capacity additions. Our results suggest that the ensuing COP21 in Paris will be critical in shaping the challenges of limiting global warming to 2°C.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Environmental Research Letters, 10(12):Article No. 125002
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Conference of Parties-21; climate change; mitigation; integrated assessment model