The transition to a low-carbon economy implies far-reaching changes in socio-economic systems. Its scope and its exact nature will depend on the actions our societies implement in order to address climate issues, and cannot be predicted with certainty.
It therefore brings risks and opportunities for economic actors, which they must anticipate in order to optimise their strategy in a context of uncertainty. Against this backdrop, the use of scenarios – which are plausible representations of uncertain future states – is very useful in order to better understand the medium- and long-term challenges of the low-carbon transition, and was in particular recommended by the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures).
Before using scenarios, it is essential to know how to correctly interpret them
. This implies first navigating the complex ecosystem of climate-related scenarios and identifying those that can be used to explore issues linked to the low-carbon transition: transition scenarios. It also requires fully understanding the issues relating to these scenarios.
The goals of this publication are therefore:
- Explaining the key concepts underpinning climate-related scenarios, presenting the main families of scenarios and the questions these scenarios help to answer;
- Providing keys to reading transition scenarios in order to facilitate their interpretation and to avoid misunderstanding.
A framework for reading transition scenarios
was developed to provide readers with a step-by-step guide to scenarios. It summarises the eight main steps to follow in order to interpret a transition scenario according to the explanations developed in this study, and is applied to 5 publicly-available scenarios.
A project supported by Climate KIC: