Emission scenario

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A plausible representation of the future development of emissions of substances that are radiatively active (e.g., greenhouse gases (GHGs), aerosols) based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about driving forces (such as demographic and socio-economic development, technological change, energy and land use) and their key relationships. Concentration scenarios, derived from emission scenarios, are often used as input to a climate model to compute climate projections.

See also: Baseline scenario, Mitigation scenario, Socio-economic scenario, under Pathways: Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs), and Transformation pathways.


Explainer: The high-emissions ‘RCP8.5’ global warming scenario