Assessing the implications of human land-use change for the transient climate response to cumulative carbon emissions

Recent research has shown evidence of a linear climate response to cumulative CO2 emissions, which implies that the source, timing, and amount of emissions does not significantly influence the climate response per unit emission. Furthermore, these analyses have generally assumed that the climate response to land-use CO2 emissions is equivalent to that of fossil fuels under the assumption that, once in the atmosphere, the radiative forcing induced by CO2 is not sensitive to the emissions source. However, landcover change also affects surface albedo and the strength of terrestrial carbon sinks, both of which have an additional climate effect. In this study, the researchers use a coupled climate-carbon cycle model to assess the climate response to historical and future cumulative land-use CO2 emissions, in order to compare it to the response to fossil fuel CO2.