Remarkable changes to carbon emission budgets in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C

Climate Etc.

by Nic Lewis

A close reading of Chapters 1 and 2 of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) reveals some interesting changes from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5), and other science-relevant statements. This article highlights statements in SR15 relating to carbon emission budgets for meeting the 1.5°C and 2°C targets.

It seems fairly extraordinary to me that the AR5 post-2010 carbon budget for 1.5°C, which was only published four years ago, has in effect been now been increased by ~700 GtCO2 – equal to 21st century emissions to date – despite SR15’s projections of future warming being based very largely on the transient climate response to cumulative emissions (TCRE) range exhibited by the models used in AR5.

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