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AOSC Seminar
February 9, 2017

Paris Climate Agreement: Beacon of Hope

Ross Salawitch
AOSC/Dept. of Chem. and Biochem./ESSIC, University of Maryland

We use an Empirical Model of Global Climate (EM-GC) to assess the reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that will be needed to attain either the target (1.5 C rise of global mean surface temperature, GMST, relative to pre-industrial) or upper limit (2 C warming) of the Paris Climate Agreement.  This presentation will focus first on a comparison of the attributable anthropogenic warming rate (AAWR) inferred from the GMST record for the past three decades to values of AAWR attained from CMIP5 atmospheric oceanic general circulation models (GCMs).  We’ll show that most of the CMIP5 GCMs warm faster than the actual climate system.  Next, we’ll describe projections of global warming found using the EM-GC that indicate there is a reasonably good probability (~75%) the rise in GMST can be kept below 1.5 C, and an excellent probability global warming can be kept below 2 C, if the global emission of GHGs actually follow that of the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 scenario.  We’ll next show our analysis of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of the Paris Agreement, which reveals global emission of GHGs will lie along the RCP 4.5 trajectory if all conditional and unconditional INDCs are met and if the reduction in GHG emissions needed to achieve these INDCs is propagated forward to year 2060.  We’ll conclude by describing the massive transition to provision of energy by means that do not release GHGs that must occur, throughout the world, for: a) future energy demand to be met; b) GHG emissions not to exceed those of RCP 4.5.

This talk will be a summary of our recently published book:

We shall have copies of the book available for purchase ($60, cash or check only) immediately after the seminar.