Regional Carbon Budgets: Do They Matter for Climate Policy?

Belfer Center, Kennedy School, Harvard Univ. / by Massimo Tavoni and Detlef P. van Vuuren

Carbon budgets have emerged as a robust metric of warming, but their application to climate policy has been limited to global assessments. This article explores the potential of regional carbon budgets to inform climate policy. Using the large database of model scenarios from IPCC AR5 WGIII, we show that regional cumulative emissions are important metrics of the long term contribution to climate change and of the effort required to mitigate it. Their value appears to be more limited for informing short term courses of actions, and for predicting the economic consequences of emission reduction policies.


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