Probabilistic Integrated Assessment of "Dangerous" Climate Change

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Science  23 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5670, pp. 571-575
DOI: 10.1126/science.1094147

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Climate policy decisions are being made despite layers of uncertainty. Such decisions directly influence the potential for “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” We mapped a metric for this concept, based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment of climate impacts, onto probability distributions of future climate change produced from uncertainty in key parameters of the coupled social-natural system—climate sensitivity, climate damages, and discount rate. Analyses with a simple integrated assessment model found that, under midrange assumptions, endogenously calculated, optimal climate policy controls can reduce the probability of dangerous anthropogenic interference from ∼45% under minimal controls to near zero.

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