Cumulative emissions of carbon – a path to halting climate change?

  • Start  Tuesday 05 Feb 2019 5:00pm
  • Finish    Tuesday 05 Feb 2019 6:30pm
  • Venue  Oxford Martin School
Portrait of Joeri Rogelj
Joeri Rogelj was an Oxford Martin School Visiting Fellow

Since the late 2000s, science has established that global warming is largely defined by the total amount of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere. This concept not only implies that halting warming to any level implies that global carbon dioxide emissions haveto be reduced to net zero, it also allows to estimate carbon budgets thatwould be compatible with limiting warming to either 1.5°C or 2°C. Once established, the carbon budget concept and its implications were rapidly taken up in policy discussions. This talk will explore and discuss the latest developments in estimation the remaining carbon budget as well as its usefulness for guiding policy and climate change mitigation action.

Please watch a recording of the presentation.


Joeri Rogelj was an Oxford Martin School Visiting Fellow with the Oxford Martin Zero Carbon Investment Initiative and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition. He is a Lecturer in Climate Change and the Environment at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London. His research aims at actively informing the international climate policy debate through dedicated interdisciplinary research and analysis, and focusses on the scientific assessment of international climate agreements, the identification and response to majorgaps in knowledge for effective climate policy, and the development of new concepts bridging the divide between social and physical sciences.

Over the past decade, Joeri has contributed to and led several major scientific climate change assessments informing the international climate negotiations under the UNFCCC. He is a long-serving lead author on the Emissions Gap Reports; these are annual policy synthesis reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He contributed to the physical science and climate change mitigation assessment of Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is a Coordinating Lead Author for the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming, and a Lead Author on carbon budgets for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment. He also continues to follow the UNFCCC climate negotiations as a scientific advisor.

He has published on the potential effectiveness of international climate agreements including the Copenhagen Accord and the Paris Agreement, carbon budgets, implications of delaying climate mitigation action, the mitigation potential of short-lived climate forcers, global zero emission targets, the interaction between climate and sustainable development, the appropriateness of global temperature targets like 2°C, and emission pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C and 2°C.

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