Scenarios of long-term socio-economic and environmental development under climate stabilization

Riahi, K. ORCID:, Grubler, A. ORCID:, & Nakicenovic, N. ORCID: (2007). Scenarios of long-term socio-economic and environmental development under climate stabilization. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 74 (7) 887-935. 10.1016/j.techfore.2006.05.026.

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This paper presents an overview of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions scenarios that form the analytical backbone for other contributions to this Special Issue. We first describe the motivation behind this scenario exercise and introduce the main scenario features and characteristics, in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Altogether, we analyze three baseline scenarios of different socio-economic and technological developments that are assumed not to include any explicit climate policies. We then impose a range of climate stabilization targets on these baseline scenarios and analyze in detail the feasibility, costs and uncertainties of meeting a range of different climate stabilization targets in accordance with Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The scenarios were developed by the IIASA Integrated Assessment Modeling Framework that encompasses detailed representations of the principal GHG-emitting sectors - energy, industry, agriculture, and forestry. The main analytical findings from our analysis focus on the implications of salient uncertainties (associated with scenario baselines and stabilization targets), on feasibility and costs of climate stabilization efforts, and on the choice of appropriate portfolios of emissions abatement measures. We further analyze individual technological options with regards to their aggregated cumulative contribution toward emissions mitigation during the 21st century as well as their deployment over time. Our results illustrate that the energy sector will remain by far the largest source of GHG emissions and hence remain the prime target of emissions reduction. Ultimately, this may lead to a complete restructuring of the global energy system. Climate mitigation could also significantly change the relative economics of traditional versus new, more climate friendly products and services. This is especially the case within the energy system, which accounts for the largest share of emissions reductions, but it is also the case in the agriculture and forestry sectors, where emissions reduction and sink enhancement measures are relatively more modest.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Transitions to New Technologies (TNT)
Greenhouse Gas Initiative (GGI)
Bibliographic Reference: Technological Forecasting and Social Change (Special Issue: Greenhouse Gases - Integrated Assessment); 74(7):887-935 [2007]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:39
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:19

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