Understanding transition scenarios – Eight steps for reading and interpreting these scenarios


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:


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Understanding transition scenarios – Eight steps for reading and interpreting these scenarios Download
I4CE Contacts
Aurore COLIN
Aurore COLIN
Research Fellow – Local authorities, Transport infrastructure Email
Charlotte VAILLES
Charlotte VAILLES
Research Fellow – Financing a fair transition Email
Research Fellow – Climate risks, Adaptation and financial institutions Email
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