Greenhouse gas emissions associated with Representative Concentration Pathway RCP2.6 could limit global warming to around or below a 2 °C increase since pre-industrial times. However this scenario implies very large and rapid reductions in both carbon dioxide (CO2) and non-CO2 emissions, and suggests a need to understand available flexibility between how different greenhouse gases might be abated. There is a growing interest in developing a greater understanding of the particular role of shorter lived non-CO2 gases as abatement options. We address this here through a sensitivity study of different methane (CH4) emissions pathways to year 2100 and beyond, by including exchanges with CO2 emissions, and with a focus on related climate and economic advantages and disadvantages.
Metrics exist that characterise gas equivalence in terms of climate change effect per tonne emitted. We analyse the implications of CO2 and CH4 emission exchanges under two commonly considered metrics: the 100-yr Global Warming Potential (GWP-100) and Global Temperature Potential (GTP-100). This is whilst keeping CO2-equivalent emissions pathways fixed, based on the standard set of emissions usually associated with RCP2.6.