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Paper – National contributions to observed global warming

Environmental Research Letters Volume 9 Number 1. H Damon Matthews et al 2014 Environ. Res. Lett. 9 014010 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/1/014010National contributions to observed global warming

“There is considerable interest in identifying national contributions to global warming as a way of allocating historical responsibility for observed climate change. This task is made difficult by uncertainty associated with national estimates of historical emissions, as well as by difficulty in estimating the climate response to emissions of gases with widely varying atmospheric lifetimes. Here, we present a new estimate of national contributions to observed climate warming, including CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and land-use change, as well as methane, nitrous oxide and sulfate aerosol emissions While some countries’ warming contributions are reasonably well defined by fossil fuel CO2 emissions, many countries have dominant contributions from land-use CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, emphasizing the importance of both deforestation and agriculture as components of a country’s contribution to climate warming. Furthermore, because of their short atmospheric lifetime, recent sulfate aerosol emissions have a large impact on a country’s current climate contribution We show also that there are vast disparities in both total and per-capita climate contributions among countries, and that across most developed countries, per-capita contributions are not currently consistent with attempts to restrict global temperature change to less than 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures.”

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