Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 213–220

Emissions and Atmospheric CO2 Stabilization: Long-Term Limits and Paths


    • ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company
  • Steven J. Smith
    • ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company
  • James A. Edmonds
    • ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company

DOI: 10.1007/s11027-005-3783-8

Cite this article as:
Kheshgi, H.S., Smith, S.J. & Edmonds, J.A. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change (2005) 10: 213. doi:10.1007/s11027-005-3783-8


The objective of stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations is often envisioned as a monotonic approach to higher constant concentrations. For CO2 to approach a constant concentration over a finite time, CO2 emissions must peak and then gradually approach zero over 1,000+ years, regardless of the concentration level. While this intellectual architecture has proved useful, we suggest consideration of a broader range of scenarios, including ones in which net emissions decline to zero over a finite period of time resulting in a maximum CO2 concentration followed by a long-term decline to a lower level. Carbon cycle model results illustrate these scenarios.


carbon cycleCO2emissionsscenariostabilization
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© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005