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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A new analysis could take a step toward resolving a fiery debate: how to think about — and describe — likely levels of future emissions and warming in light of current trends and planned policies.

Driving the news: Two scientists, in a lengthy post via the Breakthrough Institute, conclude Earth is on track to warm by roughly 3°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

  • "This is a far cry from the 1.5°C and 2°C targets enshrined in the Paris agreements, but is also well short of the 4°C to 5°C warming in many 'business as usual' baseline scenarios that continue to be widely used," write Zeke Hausfather and Justin Ritchie.

Why it matters: 3°C means a world far hotter than today.

  • But it's also far less than would likely be enabled by models using high and even unchecked emissions growth — scenarios that they argue, based on extending the International Energy Agency's 2040 analyses through 2100, are no longer in the cards.
  • Hausfather and Ritchie see the most likely outcome from current policies is 2.9°C-3.4°C, but that falls to 2.7°C-3°C if nations meet their existing pledges under the Paris deal.

The big picture: 3°C would mean a lot of damaging outcomes, and even warming to date is causing major harms. A big UN-led report last year explored the consequences of breaching 1.5°C (which is quite likely).

But, but, but: They argue that some commonly cited future "pathways" used in climate literature that bring much higher warming levels are looking quite unlikely for several reasons, including efforts over the past decade to move away from coal.

One level deeper: "Even a current policies scenario where emissions continued to steadily grow rather than leveling off after 2040 would still end up well-below the commonly used RCP8.5 (SSP5-8.5) scenario, which represents the highest end of the range of no-policy baseline scenarios examined in the literature."

The intrigue: Needless to say there's plenty of variables because gaming out the future of technology, policy and economic trends is really dicey. There's also uncertainty about the sensitivity of the climate to rising emissions concentrations.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.