The 'High-with-Low' Scenario Narrative: Key Themes, Cross-Cutting Linkages, and Implications for Modelling

Wilson, C. ORCID:, Grubler, A. ORCID:, Nemet, G., Pachauri, S. ORCID:, Pauliuk, S., & Wiedenhofer, D. (2023). The 'High-with-Low' Scenario Narrative: Key Themes, Cross-Cutting Linkages, and Implications for Modelling. IIASA Working Paper. Laxenburg, Austria: WP-23-009

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We define a global ‘High-with-Low’ scenario that delivers high wellbeing with low energy and material resource consumption while limiting global warming in line with Paris Agreement targets. The High-with-Low scenario comprises a rich thematic narrative and a quantitative framework for interpreting the narrative using systems and sectoral modelling tools at different scales. The three central themes of the High-with-Low scenario are decent living standards for all, innovation and granularity, and digitalization. Inter-linkages between these themes emphasize drivers of change towards a High-with-Low future that include decentralization, adaptability to local needs, accelerated diffusion through peer and network effects, and the management of complexity on shared infrastructures. However, the direction of change is not deterministic. The High-with-Low scenario envisages a set of specific and strong governance institutions for coordinating a highly distributed global sustainability transition. To help develop and enrich these narrative aspects, we also set out some guidelines and parameterisations for quantitative model interpretations of the High-with-Low scenario. These guidelines are not universally prescriptive but rather define a set of quantitative reference points against which model inputs, processes, and outputs can be iteratively tested for consistency. In particular, we emphasize the overall development pattern of the High-with-Low scenario as one of conditional convergence in which energy services for well-being increase substantially in the Global South catching up to levels maintained in the Global North, while associated resource use tends to converge, combining a contraction in the Global North with relatively modest increases in the Global South.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Sustainable Service Systems (S3)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2023 10:15
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2023 14:33

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