Emission scenarios underplay current fossil-fuel trends and prospects

Oct 2011  Emissions and migration  Government Office for Science

The full report is also available.

In this report on ‘Migration and Global Environmental Change’, Anderson demonstrates how representing emission scenarios (such as A1FI and RCP 8.5) as being at the high end of emission prospects is contributing to complacent mitigation policy. Such scenarios more appropriately fall somewhere between moderate mitigation and business-as-usual emissions growth. They certainly do not capture the current rapid expansion of fossil-fuel use across the non-Annex 1 (poorer) nations and how the accompanying infrastructure is locking them into high-carbon futures. If policies are to be more evidence-based, there is urgent need for a family of higher emission scenarios to guide the development of national policies and inform international negotiations.

The report was commissioned as part of the UK Government’s Foresight Project on Migatation and Global Environmental Change.