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    Alternative carbon price trajectories can avoid excessive carbon removal
    ([London] : Nature Publishing Group UK, 2021) Strefler, Jessica; Kriegler, Elmar; Bauer, Nico; Luderer, Gunnar; Pietzcker, Robert C.; Giannousakis, Anastasis; Edenhofer, Ottmar
    The large majority of climate change mitigation scenarios that hold warming below 2 °C show high deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR), resulting in a peak-and-decline behavior in global temperature. This is driven by the assumption of an exponentially increasing carbon price trajectory which is perceived to be economically optimal for meeting a carbon budget. However, this optimality relies on the assumption that a finite carbon budget associated with a temperature target is filled up steadily over time. The availability of net carbon removals invalidates this assumption and therefore a different carbon price trajectory should be chosen. We show how the optimal carbon price path for remaining well below 2 °C limits CDR demand and analyze requirements for constructing alternatives, which may be easier to implement in reality. We show that warming can be held at well below 2 °C at much lower long-term economic effort and lower CDR deployment and therefore lower risks if carbon prices are high enough in the beginning to ensure target compliance, but increase at a lower rate after carbon neutrality has been reached.
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    Taking stock of national climate policies to evaluate implementation of the Paris Agreement
    ([London] : Nature Publishing Group UK, 2020) Roelfsema, Mark; van Soest, Heleen L.; Harmsen, Mathijs; van Vuuren, Detlef P.; Bertram, Christoph; den Elzen, Michel; Höhne, Niklas; Iacobuta, Gabriela; Krey, Volker; Kriegler, Elmar; Luderer, Gunnar; Riahi, Keywan; Ueckerdt, Falko; Després, Jacques; Drouet, Laurent; Emmerling, Johannes; Frank, Stefan; Fricko, Oliver; Gidden, Matthew; Humpenöder, Florian; Huppmann, Daniel; Fujimori, Shinichiro; Fragkiadakis, Kostas; Gi, Keii; Keramidas, Kimon; Köberle, Alexandre C.; Aleluia Reis, Lara; Rochedo, Pedro; Schaeffer, Roberto; Oshiro, Ken; Vrontisi, Zoi; Chen, Wenying; Iyer, Gokul C.; Edmonds, Jae; Kannavou, Maria; Jiang, Kejun; Mathur, Ritu; Safonov, George; Vishwanathan, Saritha Sudharmma
    Many countries have implemented national climate policies to accomplish pledged Nationally Determined Contributions and to contribute to the temperature objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change. In 2023, the global stocktake will assess the combined effort of countries. Here, based on a public policy database and a multi-model scenario analysis, we show that implementation of current policies leaves a median emission gap of 22.4 to 28.2 GtCO2eq by 2030 with the optimal pathways to implement the well below 2 °C and 1.5 °C Paris goals. If Nationally Determined Contributions would be fully implemented, this gap would be reduced by a third. Interestingly, the countries evaluated were found to not achieve their pledged contributions with implemented policies (implementation gap), or to have an ambition gap with optimal pathways towards well below 2 °C. This shows that all countries would need to accelerate the implementation of policies for renewable technologies, while efficiency improvements are especially important in emerging countries and fossil-fuel-dependent countries.
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    Early retirement of power plants in climate mitigation scenarios
    (Bristol : IOP Publ., 2020) Fofrich, Robert; Tong, Dan; Calvin, Katherine; De Boer, Harmen Sytze; Emmerling, Johannes; Fricko, Oliver; Fujimori, Shinichiro; Luderer, Gunnar; Rogelj, Joeri; Davis, Steven J.
    International efforts to avoid dangerous climate change aim for large and rapid reductions of fossil fuel CO2 emissions worldwide, including nearly complete decarbonization of the electric power sector. However, achieving such rapid reductions may depend on early retirement of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants. Here, we analyze future fossil fuel electricity demand in 171 energy-emissions scenarios from Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs), evaluating the implicit retirements and/or reduced operation of generating infrastructure. Although IAMs calculate retirements endogenously, the structure and methods of each model differ; we use a standard approach to infer retirements in outputs from all six major IAMs and—unlike the IAMs themselves—we begin with the age distribution and region-specific operating capacities of the existing power fleet. We find that coal-fired power plants in scenarios consistent with international climate targets (i.e. keeping global warming well-below 2 °C or 1.5 °C) retire one to three decades earlier than historically has been the case. If plants are built to meet projected fossil electricity demand and instead allowed to operate at the level and over the lifetimes they have historically, the roughly 200 Gt CO2 of additional emissions this century would be incompatible with keeping global warming well-below 2 °C. Thus, ambitious climate mitigation scenarios entail drastic, and perhaps un-appreciated, changes in the operating and/or retirement schedules of power infrastructure.