An emission pathway for stabilization at 6 Wm−2 radiative forcing


Representative Concentration Pathway 6.0 (RCP6) is a pathway that describes trends in long-term, global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), short-lived species, and land-use/land-cover change leading to a stabilisation of radiative forcing at 6.0 Watts per square meter (Wm−2) in the year 2100 without exceeding that value in prior years. Simulated with the Asia-Pacific Integrated Model (AIM), GHG emissions of RCP6 peak around 2060 and then decline through the rest of the century. The energy intensity improvement rates changes from 0.9% per year to 1.5% per year around 2060. Emissions are assumed to be reduced cost-effectively in any period through a global market for emissions permits. The exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystem through photosynthesis and respiration are estimated with the ecosystem model. The regional emissions, except CO2 and N2O, are downscaled to facilitate transfer to climate models.

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    Climate sensitivity is the number of degrees that the global average temperature could be expected to rise, relative to pre-industrial climate, if the concentration of CO2 were to double and remain at that level indefinitely.


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This work was supported by the Environmental Research and Technology Development Fund (A-0808 and S-5) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. The authors are grateful for helpful comments on earlier drafts by anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to Toshihiko Masui.

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Masui, T., Matsumoto, K., Hijioka, Y. et al. An emission pathway for stabilization at 6 Wm−2 radiative forcing. Climatic Change 109, 59 (2011).

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  • Carbon Price
  • Reference Scenario
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  • Energy Intensity Improvement