23 August, 2023

Adjusting 1.5°C climate change mitigation pathways in light of adverse new information


Ajay Gambhir, Shivika Mittal, Robin D. Lamboll, Neil Grant, Dan Bernie, Laila Gohar, Adam Hawkes, Alexandre Köberle, Joeri Rogelj and Jason A. Lowe

Understanding how 1.5°C pathways could adjust in light of new adverse information, such as a reduced 1.5°C carbon budget, or slower-than-expected low-carbon technology deployment, is critical for planning resilient pathways.

This study uses an integrated assessment model to explore potential pathway adjustments starting in 2025 and 2030, following the arrival of new information. The 1.5°C target remains achievable in the model, in light of some adverse information, provided a broad portfolio of technologies and measures is still available.

If multiple pieces of adverse information arrive simultaneously, average annual emissions reductions near 3 GtCO2/yr for the first five years following the pathway adjustment, compared to 2 GtCO2/yr in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic began. Moreover, in these scenarios of multiple simultaneous adverse information, by 2050 mitigation costs are 4-5 times as high as a no adverse information scenario, highlighting the criticality of developing a wide range of mitigation options, including energy demand reduction options.