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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2018-22
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Short communication
08 May 2018
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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
Only the instantaneous global warming potential is consistent with honest and responsible greenhouse gas accounting
Peter Nightingale Department of Physics, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881, USA
Abstract. This paper presents a simple model to describe the impact on global warming of methane (natural gas) when used for energy production. The model is used to estimate the near-term effect of energy policies based on natural gas as a bridge fuel. The results make it clear that the commonly employed global warming potential of methane with a 100-year time horizon has the following problems:

1: it produces misleading results;

2: is inconsistent with meaningful tracking of greenhouse gas emissions; and

3: is incompatible with the precautionary principle.

Citation: Nightingale, P.: Only the instantaneous global warming potential is consistent with honest and responsible greenhouse gas accounting, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2018-22, in review, 2018.
Peter Nightingale
Peter Nightingale
Peter Nightingale

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Short summary
This paper discusses flawed use of the global warming potential, a metric accepted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to assess the impact on global warming of, among others, combustion of methane, natural gas. The paper identifies problems of the generally used delayed-impact version of the metric: (1) it produces misleading results; (2) it is inconsistent with meaningful tracking of greenhouse gas emissions; and (3) it is incompatible with the precautionary principle.
This paper discusses flawed use of the global warming potential, a metric accepted by the United...
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