Scenarios in IPCC assessments: lessons from AR6 and opportunities for AR7
- Type of publication:Journal Article
- Date of publication:January 2024
- Author/s:Pirani, A., Fuglestvedt, J.S., Byers, E., O’Neill, B., Riahi, K., Lee, J., Marotzke, J., Rose, S.K., Schaeffer R. & Tebaldi, C.
Scenarios have been an important integrating element in the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the understanding of possible climate outcomes, impacts and risks, and mitigation futures. Integration supports a consistent, coherent assessment, new insights and the opportunity to address policy-relevant questions that would not be possible otherwise, for example, which impacts are unavoidable, which are reversible, what is a consistent remaining carbon budget to keep temperatures below a level and what would be a consistent route of action to achieve that goal. The AR6 builds on community frameworks that are developed to support a coherent use of scenarios across the assessment, yet their use in the assessment and the related timelines presented coordination challenges. From lessons within each Working Group (WG) assessment and the cross-WG experience, we present insights into the role of scenarios in future assessments, including the enhanced integration of impacts into scenarios, near-term information and community coordination efforts. Recommendations and opportunities are discussed for how scenarios can support strengthened consistency and policy relevance in the next IPCC assessment cycle.