Media reports frequently claim that the world is facing “committed warming” in the future as a result of past emissions, meaning higher temperatures are “locked in”, “in the pipeline” or “inevitable”, regardless of the choices society takes today.
The best available evidence shows that, on the contrary, warming is likely to more or less stop once carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reach zero, meaning humans have the power to choose their climate future.
When scientists have pointed this out recently, it has been reported as a new scientific finding. However, the scientific community has recognised that zero CO2 emissions likely implied flat future temperatures since at least 2008. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 special report on 1.5C also included a specific focus on zero-emissions scenarios with similar findings.