Measuring a fair and ambitious climate agreement using cumulative emissions

Policy makers have called for a 'fair and ambitious' global climate agreement. Scientific constraints, such as the allowable carbon emissions to avoid exceeding a 2 °C global warming limit with 66% probability, can help define ambitious approaches to climate targets. However, fairly sharing the mitigation challenge to meet a global target involves human values rather than just scientific facts. We develop a framework based on cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide to compare the consistency of countries' current emission pledges to the ambition of keeping global temperatures below 2 °C, and, further, compare two alternative methods of sharing the remaining emission allowance. We focus on the recent pledges and other official statements of the EU, USA, and China.

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