Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have requested guidance on common greenhouse gas metrics in accounting for Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to emission reductions. Metric choice can affect the relative emphasis placed on reductions of ‘cumulative climate pollutants’ such as carbon dioxide versus ‘short-lived climate pollutants’ (SLCPs), including methane and black carbon.

The effect of a cumulative emission of carbon on peak global mean surface temperature is better constrained than the effect of stabilizing the atmospheric composition. The approach is also insensitive to the timing or peak rate of emissions.