Near-term climate forcers (NTCFs), including aerosols and chemically reactive gases such as tropospheric ozone and methane, offer a potential way to mitigate climate change and improve air quality—so called 'win-win' mitigation policies. Prior studies support improved air quality under NTCF mitigation, but with conflicting climate impacts that range from a significant reduction in the rate of global warming to only a modest impact. Here, we use state-of-the-art chemistry-climate model simulations conducted as part of the Aerosol and Chemistry Model Intercomparison Project (AerChemMIP) to quantify the 21st-century impact of NTCF reductions, using a realistic future emission scenario with a consistent air quality policy. Non-methane NTCF (NMNTCF; aerosols and ozone precursors) mitigation improves air quality, but leads to significant increases in global mean precipitation of 1.3% by mid-century and 1.4% by end-of-the-century, and corresponding surface warming of 0.23 and 0.21 K. NTCF (all-NTCF; including methane) mitigation further improves air quality, with larger reductions of up to 45% for ozone pollution, while offsetting half of the wetting by mid-century (0.7% increase) and all the wetting by end-of-the-century (non-significant 0.1% increase) and leading to surface cooling of −0.15 K by mid-century and −0.50 K by end-of-the-century. This suggests that methane mitigation offsets warming induced from reductions in NMNTCFs, while also leading to net improvements in air quality.
RJ Allen, LW Horowitz, V Naik, N Oshima, FM O'Connor, S Turnock, S Shim, P Le Sager, T van Noije, K Tsigaridis, SE Bauer, LT Sentman, JG John, C Broderick, M Deushi, GA Folberth, S Fujimori and WJ Collins. Significant climate benefits from near-term climate forcer mitigation in spite of aerosol reductions
Journal: Environ. Res. Lett., Volume: 16, Year: 2021, First page: 034010, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/abe06b