1.1 The Obama–Xi Accord: A Need for Further Action

Monday, 11 January 2016: 11:00 AM
La Nouvelle A ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Ross J. Salawitch, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; and W. Tribett, A. Hope, and T. Canty

Presidents Barrack Obama of the United States and Jinping Xi of China recently announced a bilateral framework to reduce the total carbon emissions of their respective countries. The U.S. agreed to reduce annual carbon emissions such that by 2025, emissions would be 27% below 2005 levels. China agreed to achieve peak carbon emissions around 2030 coupled with a best effort to peak early. Here we analyze the implications of the Obama-Xi accord for total global carbon emissions (GCE) out to year 2060, using projections of population, economic growth, and carbon intensity for the rest of the world as well as various assumptions regarding how emissions from the U.S. and China will evolve after the timeframe of the Obama-Xi accord. Our GCE projections will be compared to those of the four Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) emission scenarios used in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The Obama-Xi accord is shown to be a meaningful first step: if followed, the actual GCE will likely fall below RCP 8.5 between now and 2060. The U.S., China, and rest of the world presently emit 4.5, 2.0, and 1.1 tonne of carbon per person per year (tpy), respectively. We show that if the world's nations adopt a strategy of “Contraction and Convergence”, such that per capita emission for each country reaches 1.0 tpy by 2060, actual GCE will approach that of RCP 4.5 by year 2060. Such action may be needed to reduce the risk of the most dire global warming forecasts within IPCC AR5.
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