EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A new scenario logic for the Paris Agreement long-term temperature goal

Joeri Rogelj1,2, Daniel Huppmann2, Volker Krey2,6, Keywan Riahi2,7, Leon Clarke3, Matthew Gidden2,4, Zebedee Nicholls5, and Malte Meinshausen5,8
Joeri Rogelj et al.
  • 1Imperial College London, Grantham Institute, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 2International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), 2361 Laxenburg, Austria
  • 3Center for Global Sustainability, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park MD 20742, USA
  • 4Climate Analytics, Berlin, Germany
  • 5Australian-German Climate & Energy College, School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 6Industrial Ecology Programme and Energy Transitions Initiative, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), 7491 Trondheim, Norway
  • 7Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
  • 8PRIMAP Group, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany

To understand how global warming can be kept well-below 2°C and even 1.5°C, climate policy uses scenarios that describe how society could transform in order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Such scenario are typically created with integrated assessment models that include a representation of the economy, and the energy, land-use, and industrial system. However, current climate change scenarios have a key weakness in that they typically focus on reaching specific climate goals in 2100 only.

This choice results in risky pathways that delay action and seemingly inevitably rely on large quantities of carbon-dioxide removal after mid-century. Here we propose a framework that more closely reflects the intentions of the UN Paris Agreement. It focusses on reaching a peak in global warming with either stabilisation or reversal thereafter. This approach provides a critical extension of the widely used Shared Socioecononomic Pathways (SSP) framework and reveals a more diverse picture: an inevitable transition period of aggressive near-term climate action to reach carbon neutrality can be followed by a variety of long-term states. It allows policymakers to explicitly consider near-term climate strategies in the context of intergenerational equity and long-term sustainability.

How to cite: Rogelj, J., Huppmann, D., Krey, V., Riahi, K., Clarke, L., Gidden, M., Nicholls, Z., and Meinshausen, M.: A new scenario logic for the Paris Agreement long-term temperature goal, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10262,, 2020

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