Journal article

Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 degrees C

Malte Meinshausen, Nicolai Meinshausen, William Hare, Sarah CB Raper, Katja Frieler, Reto Knutti, David J Frame, Myles R Allen



More than 100 countries have adopted a global warming limit of 2 degrees C or below (relative to pre-industrial levels) as a guiding principle for mitigation efforts to reduce climate change risks, impacts and damages. However, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions corresponding to a specified maximum warming are poorly known owing to uncertainties in the carbon cycle and the climate response. Here we provide a comprehensive probabilistic analysis aimed at quantifying GHG emission budgets for the 2000-50 period that would limit warming throughout the twenty-first century to below 2 degrees C, based on a combination of published distributions of climate system properties and observational constr..

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Awarded by Natural Environment Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank T. Wigley, M. Schaeffer, K. Briffa, R. Schofield, T. S., von Deimling, J. Nabel, J. Rogelj, V. Huber and A. Fischlin for discussions and comments on earlier manuscripts and our code, J. Gregory for AOGCM diagnostics, D. Giebitz-Rheinbay and B. Kriemann for IT support and the EMF- 21 modelling groups for providing their emission scenarios. M. M. thanks DAAD and the German Ministry of Environment for financial support. We acknowledge the modelling groups, the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) and the WCRP's Working Group on Coupled Modelling (WGCM) for their roles in making available the WCRP CMIP3 multi-model data set. Support of this data set is provided by the Office of Science, US Department of Energy.