Climate Change Commitment

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Climate change commitment is defined as the unavoidable future climate change resulting from inertia in geophysical and socio-economic systems. Different types of climate change commitment are discussed in the literature (see subterms). Climate change commitment is usually quantified in terms of the further change in temperature, but it includes other future changes, for example in the hydrological cycle, in extreme weather events, in extreme climate events, and in sea level. Constant composition commitment. The constant composition commitment is the remaining climate change that would result if atmospheric composition, and hence radiative forcing, were held fixed at a given value. It results from the thermal inertia of the ocean and slow processes in the cryosphere and land surface. Constant emissions commitment. The constant emissions commitment is the committed climate change that would result from keeping anthropogenic emissions constant. Zero emissions commitment. The zero emissions commitment is the climate change commitment that would result from setting anthropogenic emissions to zero. It is determined by both inertia in physical climate system components (ocean, cryosphere, land surface) and carbon cycle inertia. Feasible scenario commitment. The feasible scenario commitment is the climate change that corresponds to the lowest emission scenario judged feasible. Infrastructure commitment. The infrastructure commitment is the climate change that would result if existing greenhouse gas and aerosol emitting infrastructure were used until the end of its expected lifetime.