Scenarios with MIT integrated global systems model: significant global warming regardless of different approaches
A wide variety of scenarios for future development have played significant roles in climate policy discussions. This paper presents projections of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, sea level rise due to thermal expansion and glacial melt, oceanic acidity, and global mean temperature increases computed with the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model (IGSM) using scenarios for twenty-first century emissions developed by three different groups: intergovernmental (represented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), government (represented by the U.S. government Climate Change Science Program) and industry (represented by Royal Dutch Shell plc). In all these scenarios the climate system undergoes substantial changes. By 2100, the CO2 concentration ranges from 470 to 1020 ppm compared to a 2000 level of 365 ppm, the CO2-equivalent concentration of all greenhouse gases ranges from 550 to 1780 ppm in comparison to a 2000 level of 415 ppm, oceanic acidity changes from a current pH of around 8 to a range from 7.63 to 7.91, in comparison to a pH change from a preindustrial level by 0.1 unit. The global mean temperature increases by 1.8 to 7.0°C relative to 2000. Such increases will require considerable adaptation of many human systems and will leave some aspects of the earth’s environment irreversibly changed. Thus, the remarkable aspect of these different approaches to scenario development is not the differences in detail and philosophy but rather the similar picture they paint of a world at risk from climate change even if there is substantial effort to reduce emissions.