Climatic Change

, Volume 123, Issue 3–4, pp 383–396 | Cite as

Harmonization vs. fragmentation: overview of climate policy scenarios in EMF27

  • Geoffrey J. Blanford
  • Elmar Kriegler
  • Massimo Tavoni


This paper synthesizes results of the multi-model Energy Modeling Forum 27 (EMF27) with a focus on climate policy scenarios. The study included two harmonized long-term climate targets of 450 ppm CO2-e (enforced in 2100) and 550 pm CO2-e (not-to-exceed) as well as two more fragmented policies based on national and regional emissions targets. Stabilizing atmospheric GHG concentrations at 450 and 550 ppm CO2-e requires a dramatic reduction of carbon emissions compared to baseline levels. Mitigation pathways for the 450 CO2-e target are largely overlapping with the 550 CO2-e pathways in the first half of the century, and the lower level is achieved through rapid reductions in atmospheric concentrations in the second half of the century aided by negative anthropogenic carbon flows. A fragmented scenario designed to extrapolate current levels of ambition into the future falls short of the emissions reductions required under the harmonized targets. In a more aggressive scenario intended to capture a break from observed levels of stringency, emissions are still somewhat higher in the second half due to unabated emissions from non-participating countries, emphasizing that a phase-out of global emissions in the long term can only be reached with full global participation. A key finding is that a large range of energy-related CO2 emissions can be compatible with a given long-term target, depending on assumptions about carbon cycle response, non-CO2 and land use CO2 emissions abatement, partly explaining the spread in mitigation costs.


Emission Reduction Climate Policy Carbon Price Policy Scenario Negative Emission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. The contributions of Elmar Kriegler and Massimo Tavoni to this research was supported by funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2011 under grant agreement no. 282846 (LIMITS).

Supplementary material

10584_2013_951_MOESM1_ESM.docx (275 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 274 kb)


  1. Arora VK et al (2013) Carbon–concentration and carbon–climate feedbacks in CMIP5 earth system models. J Clim 26:5289–5314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bibas R, Méjean A (2013) Potential and limitations of bioenergy for low carbon transitions. Climatic Change. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0962-6
  3. Blanford GJ, Rose SK, Tavoni M (2012) Baseline projections of energy emissions in Asia. Enegry Econ 34:S284–S292Google Scholar
  4. Blanford GJ et al (this issue) Trade-offs between mitigation costs and temperature change. Clim Chang, this issue. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0869-2
  5. Clarke LE et al (2009) International climate policy architectures: overview of the EMF22 international scenarios. Energy Econ 31:S64–S81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Frankel J (2007) Formulas for Quantitative Emissions Targets. In: Aldy JE, Stavins RN (eds), Architectures for Agreement. Cambridge University Press, pp 31–56Google Scholar
  7. Hof AF et al (2012) The benefits of climate change mitigation in integrated assessment models: the role of the carbon cycle and climate component. Clim Chang 113:897–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. In: Solomon S et al (eds), Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  9. Jakob M et al (2012) Time to act now? Assessing the costs of delaying climate measures and benefits of early action. Clim Chang 114:79–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Krey V et al (this issue) Getting from here to there – energy technology pathways in the EMF27 scenarios. Clim Chang, this issue. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0947-5
  11. Kriegler E et al (2013) Can we still meet 2 °C with global climate action? The LIMITS study on implications of Durban Action Platform scenarios. Clim Chang Econ, in revisionGoogle Scholar
  12. Kriegler E et al (this issue) The role of technology for climate stabilization: overview of EMF27 study on energy system transition pathways under alternative climate policy regimes. Clim Chang, this issue. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0953-7
  13. Leimbach M et al (2009) Mitigation costs in a globalized world: climate policy analysis with REMIND-R. Environ Model Assess 15(3):155–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Luderer G et al (2013) Implications of weak near-term climate policies on long-term mitigation pathways. Clim Chang. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0899-9 Google Scholar
  15. Massetti E, Tavoni M (2011) The cost of climate change mitigation policy in Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union. Clim Chang Econ 2(4):341–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Riahi K et al (2013) Locked into Copenhagen Pledges—Implications of short-term emission targets for the cost and feasibility of long-term goals. Technol Forecast Soc Chang, in revisionGoogle Scholar
  17. Rogelj J et al (2011) Emissions pathways consistent with a 2 °C global temperature limit. Nat Clim Chang 1:413–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rogelj J et al (2012) 2020 emissions levels required to limit warming to below 2 °C. Nat Clim Chang. doi: 10.1038/nclimate1758 Google Scholar
  19. Rose SK et al (this issue) The role of non-Kyoto gas forcing in GHG stabilization. Clim Chang, this issue. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0955-5
  20. Sinn H-W (2012) The Green Paradox: A Supply-Side Approach to Global Warming. MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  21. Tavoni M, Tol RSJ (2010) Counting only the hits? The risk of underestimating the costs of stringent climate policy. Clim Chang 100:769–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tavoni M et al (2013) The distribution of the major economies’ effort in the Durban platform scenarions. Clim Chang Econ (accepted)Google Scholar
  23. Tol RSJ (2008) The social cost of carbon: trends, outliers and catastrophes. Econ Open Access Open Assess E Jl 2:2008–25Google Scholar
  24. UNFCCC (2010) Report of the COP16, Cancun, December 2010, Addendum: Decision 1/CP16, found at:
  25. van Vliet et al (2012) Copenhagen accord pledges imply higher costs for staying below 2°C warming. Clim Chang 113:551–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. van Vuuren et al (2011a) How well do integrated assessment models simulate climate change? Clim Chang 104(2):255–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. van Vuuren et al (2011b) The representative concentration pathways: an overview. Clim Chang 109(1–2):5–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Weyant JP, de la Chesnaye FC, Blanford GJ (2006) Overview of EMF 21: Multigas Mitigation and Climate Policy. Energy J, Multi-Greenhouse Gas Mitiation and Climate Policy Special Issue, pp 1–32Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey J. Blanford
    • 1
  • Elmar Kriegler
    • 2
  • Massimo Tavoni
    • 3
  1. 1.Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)Palo AltoUSA
  2. 2.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)PotsdamGermany
  3. 3.Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)MilanItaly

Personalised recommendations