A representative personal remaining carbon budget
How much greenhouse gas can you reasonably emit? This is a personal judgement. Your judgement will depend on:
- Your judgment of the consequences of climate change
- Whether you believe climate models are accurate
- How you think Earth saving technology will develop
- How much you care about the future
- Whether you think mitigation is a lost cause.
(1) The consequences of climate change
These are often judged in terms of global mean surface temperature (e.g. we must avoid a rise of 1.5C or 2C or …) However, GMST is just an imperfect proxy for horrid things happening: droughts, floods, heat deaths & etc.
If you must use the temperature proxy, choose your own.
(2) Whether you believe climate models are accurate
Have climate models underestimated climate effects because they have underestimated or omitted significant feedback effects?
Or are they too speculative to take seriously?
(3) The development of Earth saving technology
This will depend on your confidence in counter measures like BECCS
(4) How much you care about the future
This is personal morality
(5) Is mitigation a lost cause?
Do you believe Guy McPherson in Nature bats last?
Not precisely determined …
Clearly a representative remaining carbon budget is not something that can be precisely determined: It is not just a scientific judgement it is a mixture of science, morality and personal judgement. It is
a moral judgment informed by science.
Despite these difficulties, a quantified figure would be very helpful for planning – even if the quantity was simply an average of “expert” opinions.
Do we have any scientists ready to make a moral judgment?
Do we have any moral philosophers that know any climate science?
Anyway, I judge the representative personal remaining carbon budget to be
64 tonnes CO2e
See #1 in Topics for enhances town planning.
What’s your judgement?
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