Long-term temperature and sea-level rise stabilization before and beyond 2100: Estimating the additional climate mitigation contribution from Chinas recent 2060 carbon neutrality pledge Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract As the largest emitter in the world, China recently pledged to reach a carbon peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, which could accelerate the progress of mitigating negative climate change effects. In this study, we used the Minimum Complexity Earth Simulator and a semi-empirical statistical model to quantify the global mean temperature and sea-level rise (SLR) response under a suite of emission pathways that are constructed to cover various carbon peak and carbon neutrality years in China. The results show that China will require a carbon emission reduction rate of no less than 6%/year and a growth rate of more than 10%/year for carbon capture capacity to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Carbon peak years and peak emissions contribute significantly to mitigating climate change in the near term, while carbon neutrality years are more influential in the long term. Mitigation due to recent Chinas pledge alone will contribute a 0.16 C0.21 C avoided warming at 2100 and also lessen the cumulative warming above 1.5 C level. When accompanied by coordinated international efforts to reach global carbon neutrality before 2070, the 2 C target can be achieved. However, the 1.5 C target requires additional efforts, such as global scale adoption of negative emission technology for CO2, as well as a deep cut in non-CO2 GHG emissions. Collectively, the efforts of adopting negative emission technolgy and curbing all greenhouse gas emissions will reduce global warming by 0.9 C 1.2 C at 2100, and also reduce SLR by 4959 cm in 2200, compared to a baseline mitigation pathway already aiming at 2 C. Our findings suggest that while Chinas ambitious carbon-neutral pledge contributes to Paris Agreements targets, additional major efforts will be needed, such as reaching an earlier and lower CO2 emission peak, developing negative emission technology for CO2, and cutting other non-CO2 GHGs such as N2O, CH4, O3, and HFCs.

published proceedings

  • Environmental Research Letters

author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, J., Cui, H., Xu, Y., & Ge, Q.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021 11:11 AM