A perspective on the next generation of Earth system model scenarios: towards representative emission pathways (REPs)

Meinshausen, M., Schleussner, C.-F., Beyer, K., Bodeker, G., Boucher, O., Canadell, J.G., Daniel, J.S., Diongue-Niang, A., et al. (2023). A perspective on the next generation of Earth system model scenarios: towards representative emission pathways (REPs). Geoscientific Model Development 10.5194/gmd-2023-176. (Submitted)

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In every IPCC Assessment cycle, a multitude of scenarios are assessed, with different scope and emphasis throughout the various Working Group and Special Reports and their respective chapters. Within the reports, the ambition is to integrate knowledge on possible climate futures across the Working Groups and scientific research domains based on a small set of ‘framing pathways’, such as the so-called RCP pathways from the Fifth IPCC Assessment report (AR5) and the SSP-RCP scenarios in the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). This perspective, initiated by discussions at the IPCC Bangkok workshop in April 2023 on the “Use of Scenarios in AR6 and Subsequent Assessments”, is intended to serve as one of the community contributions to highlight needs for the next generation of framing pathways that is being advanced under the CMIP umbrella for use in the IPCC AR7. Here we suggest a number of policy research objectives that such a set of framing pathways should ideally fulfil, including mitigation needs for meeting the Paris Agreement objectives, the risks associated with carbon removal strategies, the consequences of delay in enacting that mitigation, guidance for adaptation needs, loss and damage, and for achieving mitigation in the wider context of Societal Development goals. Based on this context we suggest that the next generation of climate scenarios for Earth System Models should evolve towards ‘Representative Emission Pathways’ (REPs) and suggest key categories for such pathways. These ‘framing pathways’ should address the most critical mitigation policy and adaptation needs over the next 5–10 years. In our view the most important categories are those relevant in the context of the Paris Agreement long-term goal, specifically an immediate action (low overshoot) 1.5 °C pathway, and a delayed action (high overshoot) 1.5 °C pathway. Two other key categories are a pathway category approximately in line with current (as expressed by 2023) near- and long-term policy objectives, and a higher emissions category that is approximately in line with “current policies” (as expressed by 2023). We also argue for the scientific and policy relevance in exploring two ‘worlds that could have been’. One of these categories has high emission trajectories well above what is implied by current policies, and the other has very low emission trajectories that assume that global mitigation action in line with limiting warming to 1.5 °C without overshoot had begun in 2015. Finally, we note that timely provision of new scientific information on pathways is critical to inform the development and implementation of climate policy. For the second Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement in 2028, and to inform subsequent development of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) up to 2040, scientific inputs are required well before 2028. These needs should be carefully considered in the development timeline of community modelling activities including those under CMIP7.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Integrated Assessment and Climate Change (IACC)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2023 12:29
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 12:29
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/19262

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