Temperature increase of 21st century mitigation scenarios

Van Vuuren, D. P.; Meinshausen, M.; Plattner, G.-K; Joos, F.; Strassmann, K. M.; Smith, S. J.; Wigley, T. M. L.; Raper, S. C. B.; Riahi, K.; de la Chesnaye, F.; den Elzen, M. G. J.; Fujino, J.; Jiang, K.; Nakicenovic, N.; Paltsev, S.; Reilly, J. M. (2008). Temperature increase of 21st century mitigation scenarios. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PNAS, 105(40), pp. 15258-15262. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences NAS 10.1073/pnas.0711129105

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Estimates of 21st Century global-mean surface temperature increase have generally been based on scenarios that do not include climate policies. Newly developed multigas mitigation scenarios, based on a wide range of modeling approaches and socioeconomic assumptions, now allow the assessment of possible impacts of climate policies on projected warming ranges. This article assesses the atmospheric CO2 concentrations, radiative forcing, and temperature increase for these new scenarios using two reduced-complexity climate models. These scenarios result in temperature increase of 0.5–4.4°C over 1990 levels or 0.3–3.4°C less than the no-policy cases. The range results from differences in the assumed stringency of climate policy and uncertainty in our understanding of the climate system. Notably, an average minimum warming of ≈1.4°C (with a full range of 0.5–2.8°C) remains for even the most stringent stabilization scenarios analyzed here. This value is substantially above previously estimated committed warming based on climate system inertia alone. The results show that, although ambitious mitigation efforts can significantly reduce global warming, adaptation measures will be needed in addition to mitigation to reduce the impact of the residual warming.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Plattner, Gian-Kasper; Joos, Fortunat and Strassmann, Kuno


500 Science > 530 Physics




National Academy of Sciences NAS




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:23

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:25

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:





https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/37319 (FactScience: 207493)

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