An advanced double-pulsed 2-micron integrated path differential absorption lidar has been developed at NASA Langley Research Center for measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide. The instrument utilizes a state-of-the-art 2-micron laser transmitter with tunable on-line wavelength and advanced receiver. Instrument modeling and airborne simulations are presented in this paper. Focusing on random errors, results demonstrate instrument capabilities of performing precise carbon dioxide differential optical depth measurement with less than 3% random error for single-shot operation from up to 11 km altitude. This study is useful for defining CO2 measurement weighting, instrument setting, validation and sensitivity trade-offs.