Limiting future atmospheric carbon dioxide

Jorge Louis Sarmiento, Corinne Le Quéré, Stephen Wilson Pacala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


We estimate anthropogenic carbon emissions required to stabilize future atmospheric CO2 at various levels ranging from 350 ppm to 750 ppm. Over the next three centuries, uptake by the ocean and terrestrial biosphere would permit emissions to be 3 to 6 times greater than the total atmospheric increase, with each of them contributing approximately equal amounts. Owing to the nonlinear dependence of oceanic and terrestrial biospheric uptake on CO2 concentration, the uptake by these two sinks decreases substantially at higher atmospheric CO2 levels. The uptake also decreases with increased atmospheric CO2 growth rate. All the stabilization scenarios require a substantial future reduction in emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-137
Number of pages17
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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