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Title: Implications of weak near-term climate policies on long-term climate mitigation pathways

While the international community has set a target to limit global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, only a few concrete climate policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been implemented. We use a set of three global integrated assessment models to analyze the implications of current climate policies on long-term mitigation targets. We define a weak-policy baseline scenario, which extrapolates the current policy environment by assuming that the global climate regime remains fragmented and that emission reduction efforts remain unambitious in most of the world’s regions. In this scenario, GHG concentrations stabilize at approximately 650 ppm CO2e, which clearly falls short of the international community’s long-term climate target. We investigate the cost and achievability of the stabilization of atmospheric GHG concentrations at 450 ppm CO2e by 2100, if countries follow the weak policy pathway until 2020 or 2030, before global cooperative action is taken to pursue the long-term mitigation target. Despite weak near-term action, a 450 ppm CO2e target is achievable in all the models. However, we find that a deferral of ambitious action exacerbates the challenges of low stabilization. Specifically, weak near-term action leads to (a) higher temporary overshooting of radiative forcing,more » (b) faster and more aggressive transformations of energy systems after target adoption, (c) more stranded investments in fossil-based capacities, and (d) higher long-term mitigation costs and carbon prices._« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Climatic Change, 136(1):127-140
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States