Attributing long-term sea-level rise to Paris Agreement emission pledges

Alexander Nauels, Johannes Gutschow, Matthias Mengel, Malte Meinshausen, Peter U. Clark, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner

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32 Citations (Scopus)
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The main contributors to sea-level rise (oceans, glaciers, and ice sheets)
respond to climate change on timescales ranging from decades to
millennia. A focus on the 21st century thus fails to provide a complete
picture of the consequences of anthropogenic greenhouse gas
emissions on future sea-level rise and its long-term impacts. Here
we identify the committed global mean sea-level rise until 2300 from
historical emissions since 1750 and the currently pledged National
Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement until
2030. Our results indicate that greenhouse gas emissions over this 280-
y period result in about 1 m of committed global mean sea-level rise
by 2300, with the NDC emissions from 2016 to 2030 corresponding to
around 20 cm or 1/5 of that commitment. We also find that 26 cm
(12 cm) of the projected sea-level-rise commitment in 2300 can be
attributed to emissions from the top 5 emitting countries (China,
United States of America, European Union, India, and Russia) over the
1991–2030 (2016–2030) period. Our findings demonstrate that global
and individual country emissions over the first decades of the 21st
century alone will cause substantial long-term sea-level rise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23487-23492
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number47
Early online date4 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 Nov 2019


  • sea-level rise
  • Paris Agreement
  • emission pledges
  • Emission pledges
  • Sea-level rise


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