Towards new scenarios for analysis of emissions, climate change, impacts, and response strategies


Scenarios of potential future anthropogenic climate change, underlying driving forces, and response options have always been an important component of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In the past, the IPCC coordinated the process of developing scenarios for its assessments. During its 25th session (Mauritius, 26–28 April 2006), the IPCC decided that rather than directly coordinating and approving new scenarios itself, the process of scenario development should now be coordinated by the research community. The IPCC would seek to “catalyze” the timely production by others of new scenarios for a possible Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) by convening an expert meeting to consider the scientific community’s plans for developing new scenarios, and to identify a set of “benchmark emissions scenarios” (now referred to in this report as “Representative Concentration Pathways—RCPs” —for reasons discussed in Section I.2). The RCPs will be used to initiate climate model simulations for developing climate scenarios for use in a broad range of climate-change related research and assessment and were requested to be “compatible with the full range of stabilization, mitigation and baseline emissions scenarios available in the current scientific literature.”