Emissions To-date Consistent with Worst-Case Scenario for Global Warming

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 3

Despite recent progress on bending the emissions curve and the global pandemic, cumulative CO2 emissions measured between 2005 and 2020 place us on track (within 1%) of RCP8.5, the most aggressive scenario in assumed fossil fuel use. Between 2030 and 2050, human CO2 emissions will likely fall between RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, based on current and stated policies. However, it is expected that missing carbon cycle feedbacks such as permafrost thaw will bring us closer to RCP8.5, putting us largely at odds with the temperature targets of the Paris Agreement and leading to warming levels between 3.3°C to 5.4°C by 2100.


Compiled by Amy Imdieke