Since the Paris Agreement, climate policy has dominated political and societal conversation. But how much progress have we made since then? Where are emissions and global temperatures headed, and how risky are the plans to reach net zero?
TRIFECTA is a project that seeks to better understand these questions by developing models that will help us better understand different pathways to net zero, highlighting risks arising from assumptions that are often ignored and identifying climate strategies that may be missing from the current conversation.
The project will identify how climate targets relate to our assumptions about the long-term availability and use of fossil fuels, and the growth of carbon capture technologies. These factors will be combined with information on how we think about the costs of climate change – both the costs of reducing emissions over time, and the costs resulting from the impact of climate change itself.
To help with this goal, TRIFECTA will develop the CICERO Simple Climate Model - an open project to simulate not only how the climate will evolve over the coming century, but also focus on the critical role of carbon on land. By modelling land use over the coming century in various countries, we can put fault lines on the climate emission targets in Norway and other countries where forests and land use form a critical part of the emission targets.
Finally, TRIFECTA will provide guidance for future climate scenarios, identify strategies that have high and low risk, and how to relate global scenarios to regional climate planning. This will provide guidance for national and municipal planning to invest in climate mitigation choices that will be robust and effective in stabilising global temperatures.
Most net-zero scenarios assume a large amount of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) in the latter part of the 21st century, but the science informing the plausibility of such removals is in its infancy. TRIFECTA seeks to provide risk-framing for climate mitigation strategies on three axes:
(1) by identifying mitigation trade-offs and potentially under-sampled strategies for achieving net-zero through the development of a statistical climate scenario analysis framework.
(2) through the development of a cutting edge simple climate model to resolve key uncertainties in the net-zero transition, focusing on the better understanding of uncertainties associated with CDR, non-CO2 forcers and land use change.
(3) providing guidance on the long-term risk associated with near-term mitigation decisions and long-term assumptions about future technological capacity and climate response parameters.
TRIFECTA will develop a simple climate modeling system and risk propagation framework which will highlight the relative risks associated with net-zero strategies. We will quantify the trade-offs between different fossil fuel mitigation foci, and the factors controlling the level of deployment of CDR in current scenarios. We will then consider key physical climate processes relevant for mitigation scenarios: carbon and heat dynamics, feedbacks and the role of land use in different representative regions. Finally, we will synthesize results with a comprehensive risk assessment for a set of representative global net zero strategies, highlighting their exposure to physical, technological and economic uncertainties as represented in global mean temperature trajectories.