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Impact of methane and black carbon mitigation on forcing and temperature: a multi-model scenario analysis

Abstract: 

The relatively short atmospheric lifetimes of methane (CH4) and black carbon (BC) have focused attention on the potential for reducing anthropogenic climate change by reducing Short-Lived Climate Forcer (SLCF) emissions. This paper examines radiative forcing and global mean temperature results from the Energy Modeling Forum (EMF)-30 multi-model suite of scenarios addressing CH4 and BC mitigation, the two major short-lived climate forcers. Central estimates of temperature reductions in 2040 from an idealized scenario focused on reductions in methane and black carbon emissions ranged from 0.18–0.26 °C across the nine participating models. Reductions in methane emissions drive 60% or more of these temperature reductions by 2040, although the methane impact also depends on auxiliary reductions that depend on the economic structure of the model. Climate model parameter uncertainty has a large impact on results, with SLCF reductions resulting in as much as 0.3–0.7 °C by 2040. We find that the substantial overlap between a SLCF-focused policy and a stringent and comprehensive climate policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions means that additional SLCF emission reductions result in, at most, a small additional benefit of ~ 0.1 °C in the 2030–2040 time frame.