Net zero-emission pathways reduce the physical and economic risks of climate change

Laurent Drouet*, Valentina Bosetti, Simone A. Padoan, Lara Aleluia Reis, Christoph Bertram, Francesco Dalla Longa, Jacques Després, Johannes Emmerling, Florian Fosse, Kostas Fragkiadakis, Stefan Frank, Oliver Fricko, Shinichiro Fujimori, Mathijs Harmsen, Volker Krey, Ken Oshiro, Larissa P. Nogueira, Leonidas Paroussos, Franziska Piontek, Keywan RiahiPedro R.R. Rochedo, Roberto Schaeffer, Jun’ya Takakura, Kaj Ivar van der Wijst, Bob van der Zwaan, Detlef van Vuuren, Zoi Vrontisi, Matthias Weitzel, Behnam Zakeri, Massimo Tavoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mitigation pathways exploring end-of-century temperature targets often entail temperature overshoot. Little is known about the additional climate risks generated by overshooting temperature. Here we assessed the benefits of limiting overshoot. We computed the probabilistic impacts for different warming targets and overshoot levels on the basis of an ensemble of integrated assessment models. We explored both physical and macroeconomic impacts, including persistent and non-persistent climate impacts. We found that temperature overshooting affects the likelihood of many critical physical impacts, such as those associated with heat extremes. Limiting overshoot reduces risk in the right tail of the distribution, in particular for low-temperature targets where larger overshoots arise as a way to lower short-term mitigation costs. We also showed how, after mid-century, overshoot leads to both higher mitigation costs and economic losses from the additional impacts. The study highlights the need to include climate risk analysis in low-carbon pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1076
Number of pages7
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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