An alternative to the Global Warming Potential for comparing climate impacts of emissions of greenhouse gases
MetadataShow full item record
- CICERO Working Papers 
The Global Warming Potential (GWP) is used within the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as a metric for weighting the climatic impact of emissions of different greenhouse gases. The GWP has been subject to many criticisms because of its formulation, but nevertheless it has retained some favour because of the simplicity of its design and application, and its transparency compared to proposed alternatives. Here a new metric, which we call the Global Temperature Change Potential (GTP), is proposed which is based on a simple analytical climate model that represents the temperature change at a given time due to either a pulse emission of a gas or a sustained emission change relative to a similar emission change of carbon dioxide. The GTP for a pulse emission illustrates that the GWP does not represent well the relative temperature response; however, the GWP is shown to be very close to the GTP for a sustained emission change for time horizons of 100 years or more. The new metric retains the advantage of the GWP in terms of transparency, and the relatively small number of input parameters required for calculation. However, it has an enhanced relevance, as it is further down the cause-effect chain of the impacts of greenhouse gases emissions. The GTP for a sustained emission appears to be robust to a number of uncertainties and simplifications in its derivation and may be an attractive alternative to the GWP.