Contributions to Warming

The goals of the Paris Agreement open with:

  1. This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention, including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:
    1. holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change

The fundamental question of the climate crisis is not how to reduce emissions, but how to reduce the risks and negative impacts consequent of global warming induced climate change. Therefore, as the world mobilises to deliver rapid and ambitious mitigation, with widespread acceleration in the uptake of net zero targets, it’s important to understand how both historical emissions and future emissions trajectories have contributed and will continue to contribute towards global temperature change.

When multiple greenhouse gases are involved this is a non-trivial question, but it is one that is essential to guide the strongest and most well-informed decision making. Further, since present and future warming are dependent on historical emissions, it is not enough to consider only warming caused by actions from the date that a climate plan was put into place onwards; these actions also need to be set within context of historical emissions, especially when factoring justice into transitions.

With this in mind, we’ve created an interactive app enabling exploration of the contributions to global temperature change, broken down by each country, sector, and gas. This translation of emissions into temperature impact is conducted in a fully transparent and traceable manner; warming is calculated using the IPCC AR5 Linear Impulse Response Model, driven by emissions from the comprehensive PRIMAP-hist dataset.

An upcoming update will provide global warming impact calculations for any user-uploaded emissions pathways, thus widening availability of transparent calculation tools to anyone wishing to assess the impact of their actions to global temperature changes.