What are emission scenarios?

Emission scenarios are assumptions about the future emissions of greenhouse gases, which are used in climate modelling. They are prepared by the United Nation’s climate panel, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Emissions scenarios are based on assumptions about how the world will develop in the future including the economy, population growth, effects of globalization and changes to environmentally friendly technology. The amount of greenhouse gases that will be emitted over time depends on global development. A number of emissions scenarios are described in the IPCC reports on emissions scenarios (SRES, 2000). 

The emissions of the different greenhouse gases can change in different ways between and within the different scenarios. This means that the scenario showing the largest change in temperature in 100 years might not necessarily be the one showing the largest change in 20 years.