Policymakers can use the Coalition’s Temperature Pathway Calculator to model and compare global temperature responses to emissions mitigation scenarios using national, regional or city-level data.

Because it can calculate temperature pathways for multiple greenhouse gases and pollutants over both short and long time scales, the Pathway Calculator is a highly effective tool for determining the impacts of mitigation actions on temperature change and informing action.


Why consider short and long time scales?

To reach the long-term Paris Agreement temperature targets, countries must choose a path that will slow the rate of global warming in the near term. This requires integrated action on all pollutants contributing to climate change: long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants.

Since each pollutant affects global temperatures differently over time, it is important to look at the benefits and trade-offs of mitigation actions separately as well as over short and long time scales in order to determine which combination of actions will deliver the greatest impact.

Sample calculations

The Pathway Calculator can provide temperature pathways using single or multiple emission scenarios. These pathways can be used to determine a range of scenarios, including:

Annual temperature changes due to multiple pollutant emissions over a chosen period of time
Annual temperature changes due to multiple emissions over a chosen period of time

Cumulative annual temperature changes resulting from multiple pollutant emissions
Cumulative annual temperature changes

Avoided warming and cooling at a given end year

Avoided warming and cooling at a given end year

Avoided warming and cooling resulting from multiple pollutant mitigation scenarios

Avoided warming and cooling for multiple pollutants

Pollutants measured

Temperature pathways can be calculated for the following pollutants:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Black carbon
  • Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Organic carbon (OC)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOX)
  • Ammonia (NH3)
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC): HFC-134a, HFC-143, HFC-32, HFC-143a, HFC-152a, HFC-227ea, HFC-23, HFC-236fa, HFC-245fa, HFC-365mfc, HFC-507, HFC-125
  • Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC): HCFC-141b, HCFC-22, HCFC-225ca, HCFC-225cb
  • Other F-gases: C2F6, C3F8, C4F10, CF4, Halon-1211, Halon-1301

How are temperature changes measured?

The Pathway Calculator uses the widely-accepted Average Global Temperature Potential (AGTP) climate metric that was developed by the Coalition’s Scientific Advisory Panel Chair, Prof. Drew Shindell, and published in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Rather than converting emissions measurements into CO2 equivalents, the AGTP metric allows for temperature impacts to be calculated directly from an emission's unit of mass. This same metric can be used to calculate both short- and long-term temperature changes.

Related tools and links

The Pathway Calculator is a key component of the Coalition’s Multiple Benefits Pathway Framework, which helps countries and regions analyze the climate and clean air benefits of greenhouse gas and air pollution mitigation strategies and track their impacts over multiple time scales.

The Temperature Pathway Calculator is an easy-to-use tool for determining temperature impacts of mitigation strategies. The Stockholm Environment Institute’s LEAP-IBC tool to can be used to develop a comprehensive account of the potential near- and long-term temperature reductions as well as social and economic benefits that will accrue from mitigation measures in the country taking action.

More info

Daniel Benefor: The Multiple Benefits Pathway Approach: The Ghana Experience.

Daniel Benefor: The Multiple Benefits Pathway Approach: The Ghana Experience.
Daniel Benefor discusses Ghana's experience at an integrated approach to air pollution and climate change
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