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Energy policies avoiding a tipping point in the climate system

Bahn, Olivier; Edwards, Neil R.; Knutti, Reto and Stocker, Thomas F. (2011). Energy policies avoiding a tipping point in the climate system. Energy policy, 39(1) pp. 334–348.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2010.10.002
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Abstract

Paleoclimate evidence and climate models indicate that certain elements of the climate system may exhibit thresholds, with small changes in greenhouse gas emissions resulting in non-linear and potentially irreversible regime shifts with serious consequences for socio-economic systems. Such thresholds or tipping points in the climate system are likely to depend on both the magnitude and rate of change of surface warming. The collapse of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) is one example of such a threshold. To evaluate mitigation policies that curb greenhouse gas emissions to levels that prevent such a climate threshold being reached, we use the MERGE model of Manne, Mendelsohn and Richels. Depending on assumptions on climate sensitivity and technological progress, our analysis shows that preserving the THC may require a fast and strong greenhouse gas emission reduction from today's level, with transition to nuclear and/or renewable energy, possibly combined with the use of carbon capture and sequestration systems.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN: 0301-4215
Keywords: climate tipping points; GHG emission reduction; integrated assessment modeling
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Environment, Earth and Ecosystems
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Item ID: 25654
Depositing User: Neil Edwards
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2010 15:44
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2012 13:46
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/25654
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