New computer modeling work shows that by 2100, if society wants to limit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to less than 40 percent higher than it is today, the lowest cost option is to use every available means of reducing emissions. This includes more nuclear and renewable energy, choosing electricity over fossil fuels, reducing emissions through technologies that capture and store carbon dioxide, and even using forests to store carbon.
Researchers from the Joint Global Change Research Institute introduced the work, called the RCP 4.5 scenario, in a special July 29 online issue of the journal Climatic Change. The scenario is one of four that scientists will use worldwide to independently study how the climate might respond to different increases of greenhouse gases and how much of the sun’s energy they trap in the atmosphere. It can also be used to study possible ways to slow climate change and adapt to it.