, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 459-469

Global Warming Potentials: 2. Accuracy

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Abstract

This paper exposes flaws in the mathematical structure of the Global Warming Potential (GWP) concept. These lead to errors when emissions changes in different greenhouse gases are compared. The most fundamental problem is that the unit impulse response functions from which GWPs, and many of their proposed alternatives, are constructed provide an incomplete representation of the relationship between emissions and radiative forcing. Additional errors occur when GWPs are used to compare finite-length emissions changes.