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IPCC scenarios By S.M. Enzler MSc

Explanation of the IPCC SRES scenarios

In 1990, 1992 and 1996 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) wrote the Special Reports on Emission Scenarios (SRES), containing projections of climate change including those based on the IMAGE 2.2 model (Integrated Model for Assessment of the Greenhouse Effect, figure 1). These reports contain both projections of global climate change and its causes, and of consequences of global warming. The set-up of the scenarios is discussed here.

It must be noted that the SRES contain projections of possible climate futures. This account is based on the SRES of 1996. In time these scenarios may alter according to population, technological and socio-economic development.

Figure 1: the IMAGE 2.2 model

Emissions scenarios are a central component of any assessment of climate change. The reports contain four different scenarios (figure 2) including their estimated impact on climate. The emissions scenarios are the basis for the assessment of possible mitigation strategies and policies to prevent climate change. Two scenarios emphasize on material wealth and two scenarios on sustainability and equity. Additionally, two scenarios emphasize on globalization and two on regionalization. This provides IPCC with the following combination and original numbering:

- A1: globalization, emphasis on human wealth
Globalized, intensive (market forces)
- A2: regionalization, emphasis on human wealth
Regional, intensive (clash of civilizations)
- B1: globalization, emphasis on sustainability and equity
Globalized, extensive (sustainable development)
- B2: regionalization, emphasis on sustainability and equity
Regional, extensive (mixed green bag)

Figure 2: schematic representation of the SRES scenarios

Related pages

Climate change glossary

Fossil fuels: characteristics and effects

The greenhouse effect mechanism

Emissions and infrared absorption by greenhouse gases

The IPCC SRES scenarios: causes of climate change

The IPCC SRES scenarios: consequences of climate change

Overview of emission reductions for each country according to Kyoto

Possible policy measures to achieve Kyoto targets

Trading emission permits to achieve Kyoto targets

Discussions of the greenhouse effect

History of global warming

Perspectives on the greenhouse effect

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