• Mounting evidence indicates that climate tipping
    points can have large, potentially irreversible, impacts on the earth
    system and human societies. Yet, climate change metrics applied in
    current sustainability assessment methods generally do not
    consider these tipping points, with the use of arbitrarily determined
    time horizons and assumptions that the climate impact of a
    product or service is independent of emission timing. Here, we
    propose a new method for calculating climate tipping characterization
    factors for greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and
    nitrous oxide) at midpoint. It covers 13 projected tipping points,
    incorporates the effect that the crossing of a given tipping point has on accelerating the crossing of other tipping points, and
    addresses uncertainties in the temperature thresholds that trigger the tipping points. To demonstrate the added value of the new
    metric, we apply it to emissions stemming from end-of-life of plastic polymers and compare them with commonly used metrics. This
    highlights the need to consider climate tipping in sustainability assessment of products and services.

  • Quantitative Sustainability Assessment Group, Department of Technology, Management and Economics, Technical University of Denmark, Produktionstorvet, Building 424, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark



    Copyright: © 2021 The Authors

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