In my last post, I suggested that we (humans) set the goal of staying, roughly, within the RCP2.6 scenario, which would keep global temperatures within 2°C by 2100. RCP2.6 is one of the four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a few years ago. A scenario consistent with RCP2 is a global population of 9 billion in 2100, fairly robust global GDP growth, middling reforestation and wild habitat restoration, relatively less oil (and more natural gas) consumption than the other RCPs, and decent advances in carbon capture technologies van Vuuren et al (2011a). This scenario, per its authors, “represents a medium development scenario for population, income, energy use and land use” ((van Vuuren et al; 2011b, p. 100)
In the”a picture is worth a 100 words” department, here,are several graphs illustrating the above (all from van Vuuren et al (2011b):
Note that if the graph lines fall within gray areas, they are considered within reasonable as per various experts as per IPCC. All the RCPs are within the gray areas. Otherwise, the IPCC wouldn’t be wasting our time with fantasies.
So, is RCP2.6 scenario presented above really reasonable? Mull it over, explore it in your problem space, and stay tuned…..
van Vuuren, Detlef P. et al (2011) RCP2.6: exploring the possibility to keep global mean temperature increase below 2°C. Climatic Change; 109:95–116 DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0152-3
van Vuuren, D et al. The representative concentration pathways: an overview. Climatic Change (2011) 109: 5. doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z