After Paris: The rocky road ahead

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Science  27 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6264, pp. 1018-1019
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6264.1018

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Officials call the Paris climate talks a beginning, but what's the destination? In a series of informational graphics, Science explores the implications of three possible scenarios for global greenhouse gas emissions until 2100. One is a "business as usual" scenario that results in massive warming by the end of the century, and then many meters of sea level rise that would unfold over centuries. Another is a scenario that assumes nations meet the pledges they make in Paris, causing global emissions to dip, but then take no further action, causing emissions to rise again as population and economic growth swamp any gains. The final scenario explores what it will take to hold global warming below the 2°C of warming many researchers deem safe. For each scenario, graphics illustrate the possible range of outcomes for sea level rise, warming, and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, and provide insight to choices about energy sources that will shape future emissions.