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In general, I think that impact-based criteria are better, for two reasons: (1) They're more meaningful to the general public (although impacts of a specified temperature rise are a bit vague, and 2˚C sounds so small that, without further education, it isn't clear to many why this rise is climatologically significant) and (2) an impact-based criterion allows policymakers more flexibility in meeting the criterion. But we're so far from where we need to be that any numerical limit—total carbon emitted to the atmosphere (e.g., 1 gigatonne), annual emissions caps, target CO2 concentration (e.g., 350 ppm or whatever), target radiative forcing
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at 2100 (as in the IPCC scenarios) seems to me a meaningful way to set climate goals.
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by Rich Wolfson (not verified)