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    Incremental improvements of 2030 targets insufficient to achieve the Paris Agreement goals
    (Göttingen : Copernicus Publ., 2020) Geiges, Andreas; Nauels, Alexander; Yanguas Parra, Paola; Andrijevic, Marina; Hare, William; Pfleiderer, Peter; Schaeffer, Michiel; Schleussner, Carl-Friedrich
    Current global mitigation ambition up to 2030 under the Paris Agreement, reflected in the National Determined Contributions (NDCs), is insufficient to achieve the agreement's 1.5 °C long-term temperature limit. As governments are preparing new and updated NDCs for 2020, the question as to how much collective improvement is achieved is a pivotal one for the credibility of the international climate regime. The recent Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has assessed a wide range of scenarios that achieve the 1.5 °C limit. Those pathways are characterised by a substantial increase in near-term action and total greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels about 50 % lower than what is implied by current NDCs. Here we assess the outcomes of different scenarios of NDC updating that fall short of achieving this 1.5 °C benchmark. We find that incremental improvements in reduction targets, even if achieved globally, are insufficient to align collective ambition with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We provide estimates for global mean temperature increase by 2100 for different incremental NDC update scenarios and illustrate climate impacts under those median scenarios for extreme temperature, long-term sea-level rise and economic damages for the most vulnerable countries. Under the assumption of maintaining ambition as reflected in current NDCs up to 2100 and beyond, we project a reduction in the gross domestic product (GDP) in tropical countries of around 60 % compared to a no-climate-change scenario and median long-term sea-level rise of close to 2 m in 2300. About half of these impacts can be avoided by limiting warming to 1.5 °C or below. Scenarios of more incremental NDC improvements do not lead to comparable reductions in climate impacts. An increase in aggregated NDC ambition of big emitters by 33 % in 2030 does not reduce presented climate impacts by more than about half compared to limiting warming to 1.5 °C. Our results underscore that a transformational increase in 2030 ambition is required to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. © 2020 SPIE. All rights reserved.
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    Modeling forest plantations for carbon uptake with the LPJmL dynamic global vegetation model
    (Göttingen : Copernicus Publ., 2019) Braakhekke, Maarten C.; Doelman, Jonathan C.; Baas, Peter; Müller, Christoph; Schaphoff, Sibyll; Stehfest, Elke; van Vuuren, Detlef P.
    We present an extension of the dynamic global vegetation model, Lund-Potsdam-Jena Managed Land (LPJmL), to simulate planted forests intended for carbon (C) sequestration. We implemented three functional types to simulate plantation trees in temperate, tropical, and boreal climates. The parameters of these functional types were optimized to fit target growth curves (TGCs). These curves represent the evolution of stemwood C over time in typical productive plantations and were derived by combining field observations and LPJmL estimates for equivalent natural forests. While the calibrated model underestimates stemwood C growth rates compared to the TGCs, it represents substantial improvement over using natural forests to represent afforestation. Based on a simulation experiment in which we compared global natural forest versus global forest plantation, we found that forest plantations allow for much larger C uptake rates on the timescale of 100 years, with a maximum difference of a factor of 1.9, around 54 years. In subsequent simulations for an ambitious but realistic scenario in which 650Mha (14% of global managed land, 4.5% of global land surface) are converted to forest over 85 years, we found that natural forests take up 37PgC versus 48PgC for forest plantations. Comparing these results to estimations of C sequestration required to achieve the 2°C climate target, we conclude that afforestation can offer a substantial contribution to climate mitigation. Full evaluation of afforestation as a climate change mitigation strategy requires an integrated assessment which considers all relevant aspects, including costs, biodiversity, and trade-offs with other land-use types. Our extended version of LPJmL can contribute to such an assessment by providing improved estimates of C uptake rates by forest plantations. © 2019 American Institute of Physics Inc.. All rights reserved.
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    The economically optimal warming limit of the planet
    (Göttingen : Copernicus Publ., 2019) Ueckerd, Falko; Frieler, Katja; Lange, Stefan; Wenz, Leonie; Luderer, Gunnar; Levermann, Anders
    Both climate-change damages and climate-change mitigation will incur economic costs. While the risk of severe damages increases with the level of global warming (Dell et al., 2014; IPCC, 2014b, 2018; Lenton et al., 2008), mitigating costs increase steeply with more stringent warming limits (IPCC, 2014a; Luderer et al., 2013; Rogelj et al., 2015). Here, we show that the global warming limit that minimizes this century's total economic costs of climate change lies between 1.9 and 2°C, if temperature changes continue to impact national economic growth rates as observed in the past and if instantaneous growth effects are neither compensated nor amplified by additional growth effects in the following years. The result is robust across a wide range of normative assumptions on the valuation of future welfare and inequality aversion. We combine estimates of climate-change impacts on economic growth for 186 countries (applying an empirical damage function from Burke et al., 2015) with mitigation costs derived from a state-of-the-art energy-economy-climate model with a wide range of highly resolved mitigation options (Kriegler et al., 2017; Luderer et al., 2013, 2015). Our purely economic assessment, even though it omits non-market damages, provides support for the international Paris Agreement on climate change. The political goal of limiting global warming to "well below 2 degrees" is thus also an economically optimal goal given above assumptions on adaptation and damage persistence. © 2019 Copernicus GmbH. All rights reserved.
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    Freshwater resources under success and failure of the Paris climate agreement
    (Göttingen : Copernicus Publ., 2019) Heinke, Jens; Müller, Christoph; Lannerstad, Mats; Gerten, Dieter; Lucht, Wolfgang
    Population growth will in many regions increase the pressure on water resources and likely increase the number of people affected by water scarcity. In parallel, global warming causes hydrological changes which will affect freshwater supply for human use in many regions. This study estimates the exposure of future population to severe hydrological changes relevant from a freshwater resource perspective at different levels of global mean temperature rise above pre-industrial level (ΔTglob). The analysis is complemented by an assessment of water scarcity that would occur without additional climate change due to population change alone; this is done to identify the population groups that are faced with particularly high adaptation challenges. The results are analysed in the context of success and failure of implementing the Paris Agreement to evaluate how climate mitigation can reduce the future number of people exposed to severe hydrological change. The results show that without climate mitigation efforts, in the year 2100 about 4.9 billion people in the SSP2 population scenario would more likely than not be exposed to severe hydrological change, and about 2.1 billion of them would be faced with particularly high adaptation challenges due to already prevailing water scarcity. Limiting warming to 2 °C by a successful implementation of the Paris Agreement would strongly reduce these numbers to 615 million and 290 million, respectively. At the regional scale, substantial water-related risks remain at 2 °C, with more than 12% of the population exposed to severe hydrological change and high adaptation challenges in Latin America and the Middle East and north Africa region. Constraining δTglob to 1.5 °C would limit this share to about 5% in these regions. ©2019 Author(s).