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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2011. Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12877.
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Appendixes

Appendix A
Statement of Task

The stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and the avoidance of serious or irreversible impacts on earth’s climate system are a matter of critical concern in both scientific and policy arenas. Using the most current science available, this study will evaluate the implications of different atmospheric concentration target levels and explain the uncertainties inherent in the analyses to assist policy makers as they make decisions about stabilization target levels for atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

This study will:

  • Evaluate a range of greenhouse gas stabilization targets and describe the types and scales of impacts likely associated with different ranges, including discussion of the associated uncertainties, timescale of impacts, and potential serious or irreversible impacts.1

This study will focus on evaluating the implications of a range of GHG stabilization targets, but it will not involve the committee’s assessment of what stabilization targets are technically feasible nor their normative judgment on what targets are most appropriate.

1

This study will consider cumulative emissions of the “basket” of gases considered in the Kyoto protocol (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6). Any particular overall stabilization target could include varying combinations of emissions targets for the different gases.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2011. Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12877.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2011. Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12877.
×
Page269
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2011. Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12877.
×
Page270
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Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth's climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth and future generations into a range of impacts, some of which could become very severe. Emissions reductions decisions made today matter in determining impacts experienced not just over the next few decades, but in the coming centuries and millennia.

According to Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia, important policy decisions can be informed by recent advances in climate science that quantify the relationships between increases in carbon dioxide and global warming, related climate changes, and resulting impacts, such as changes in streamflow, wildfires, crop productivity, extreme hot summers, and sea level rise. One way to inform these choices is to consider the projected climate changes and impacts that would occur if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were stabilized at a particular concentration level. The book quantifies the outcomes of different stabilization targets for greenhouse gas concentrations using analyses and information drawn from the scientific literature. Although it does not recommend or justify any particular stabilization target, it does provide important scientific insights about the relationships among emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures, and impacts.

Climate Stabilization Targets emphasizes the importance of 21st century choices regarding long-term climate stabilization. It is a useful resource for scientists, educators and policy makers, among others.

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