Special report on emissions scenarios

Special report on emissions scenarios

Predicing different emission scenarios: an important policy making process

In 1992 the IPCC released emission scenarios to be used for driving global circulation models to develop climate change scenarios.

The so-called IS92 scenarios were pathbreaking. They were the first global scenarios to provide estimates for the full suite of greenhouse gases. Much has changed since then in our understanding of possible future greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Therefore the IPCC decided in 1996 to develop a new set of emissions scenarios which will provide input to the IPCC third assessment report but can be of broader use than the I992 scenarios.

The new scenarios provide also input for evaluating climatic and environmental consequences of future greenhouse gas emissions and for assessing alternative mitigation and adaptation strategies.

They include improved emission baselines and latest information on economic restructuring throughout the world, examine different rates and trends in technological change and expand the range of different economic-development pathways, including narrowing of the income gap between developed and developing countries.

To achieve this a new approach was adopted to take into account a wide range of scientific perspectives, and interactions between regions and sectors. Through the so-called "open process" input and feedback from a community of experts much broader than the writing team were solicited.

The results of this work show that different social, economic and technological developments have a strong impact on emission trends, without assuming explicit climate policy interventions. The new scenarios also provide important insights about the interlinkages between environmental quality and development choices and will certainly be a useful tool for experts and decision makers.

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