Uncertainty in an Emissions-Constrained World

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gregg Marland Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: Our study focuses on uncertainty in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissionsfrom anthro-pogenic sources, including land use and land-use change activities.We aim to understand the relevance of diagnostic (retrospective) andprognostic (prospective) uncertainty in an emissions-temperature setting thatseeks to constrain global warming and to link uncertainty consistently acrosstemporal scales. We discuss diagnostic and prognostic uncertainty in asystems setting that allows any country to understand its national and near-termmitigation and adaptation efforts in a globally consistent and long-term context.Cumulative emissions are not only constrained and globally binding but exhibitquantitative uncertainty; and whether or not compliance with an agreedtemperature target will be achieved is also uncertain. To facilitate discussions, wefocus on two countries, the USA and China. While our study addresses whether ornot future increase in global temperature can be kept below 2, 3, or 4 °C targets,its primary aim is to use those targets to demonstrate the relevance of bothdiagnostic and prognostic uncertainty. We show how to combine diagnostic andprognostic uncertainty to take more educated (precautionary) decisions forreducing emissions toward an agreed temperature target; and how to perceivecombined diagnostic and prognostic uncertainty-related risk. Diagnosticuncertainty is the uncertainty contained in inventoried emission estimates andrelates to the risk that true GHG emissions are greater than inventoriedemission estimates reported in a specified year; prognostic uncertainty refers tocumulative emissions between a start year and a future target year, and relates tothe risk that an agreed temperature target is exceeded.

Additional Information

Jonas, M., Gregg Marland, V. Krey, F. Wagner, and Z. Nahorski, 2014. Uncertainty in an emissions constrained world, Climatic Change 124: 459-476. The final publication is available at Springer via http://0-dx.doi.org.wncln.wncln.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1103-6 [ISSN: 0165-0009].
Language: English
Date: 2014
Emissions control, Greenhouse gases, Climate change,

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