RCP8.5 tracks cumulative CO2 emissions

Christopher R. Schwalm, Spencer Glendon, Philip B. Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

481 Scopus citations


Climate simulation-based scenarios are routinely used to characterize a range of plausible climate futures. Despite some recent progress on bending the emissions curve, RCP8.5, the most aggressive scenario in assumed fossil fuel use for global climate models, will continue to serve as a useful tool for quantifying physical climate risk, especially over near- to midterm policy-relevant time horizons. Not only are the emissions consistent with RCP8.5 in close agreement with historical total cumulative CO2 emissions (within 1%), but RCP8.5 is also the best match out to midcentury under current and stated policies with still highly plausible levels of CO2 emissions in 2100.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19656-19657
Number of pages2
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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