Modeling the global society-biosphere-climate system: Part 2: Computed scenarios

01-07-1994 | Publication

This paper presents scenarios computed with IMAGE 2.0, an integrated model of the global environment and climate change.

Results are presented for selected aspects of the society-biosphere-climate system including primary energy consumption, emissions of various greenhouse gases, atmospheric concentrations of gases, temperature, precipitation, land cover and other indicators. Included are a Conventional Wisdom scenario, and three variations of this scenario:

  1. the Conventional Wisdom scenario is a reference case which is partly based on the input assumptions of the IPCC's IS92a scenario
  2. the Biofuel Crops scenario assumes that most biofuels will be derived from new cropland
  3. the No Biofuels scenario examines the sensitivity of the system to the use of biofuels
  4. the Ocean Realignment scenario investigates the effect of a large-scale change in ocean circulation on the biosphere and climate.

Results of the biofuel scenarios illustrate the importance of examining the impact of biofuels on the full range of greenhouse gases, rather than only CO2. These scenarios also indicate possible side effects of the land requirements for energy crops. The Ocean Realignment scenario shows that an unexpected, low probability event can both enhance the build-up of greenhouse gases, and at the same time cause a temporary cooling of surface air temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. However, warming of the atmosphere is only delayed, not avoided.