We propose that international climate change policy would be strengthened by the development and adoption of targets for atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases 25–50 years in the future in addition to near- and long-term targets. ‘Interim concentration targets’, which could be accommodated under the current Convention/Protocol framework, would provide several advantages over the current focus on either the short term (e.g. Kyoto Protocol) or the long term (e.g. ultimate stabilization targets). Interim targets would help constrain rates of climate change (which are not sufficiently addressed by short- or long-term targets, even when paired together). They would also provide a means for keeping open the option of achieving a range of long-term goals while uncertainty (and political disagreement) over the appropriate goal is resolved. We substantiate a number of rationales for such an approach, discuss the use of interim targets in other contexts, and illustrate how such targets for climate change policy might be set.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Atmospheric Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Climate change