GIF: Five shared socio-economic pathways scenarios

As part of my internship, I was asked to do an animation of the five IPCC pathways scenarios.

An explainer by Carbon Brief on these scenarios:

Over the past few years, an international team of climate scientists, economists and energy systems modellers have built a range of new “pathways” that examine how global society, demographics and economics might change over the next century. They are collectively known as the “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways” (SSPs).

These SSPs are now being used as important inputs for the latest climate models, feeding into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth assessment report due to be published in 2020-21. They are also being used to explore how societal choices will affect greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, how the climate goals of the Paris Agreement could be met.

The new SSPs offer five pathways that the world could take. Compared to previous scenarios, these offer a broader view of a “business as usual” world without future climate policy, with global warming in 2100 ranging from a low of 3.1C to a high of 5.1C above pre-industrial levels.

They show that it would be much easier to mitigate and adapt to climate change in some versions of the future than in others. They suggest, for example, that a future with “resurgent nationalism” and a fragmentation of the international order could make the “well below 2C” Paris target impossible.

Here is the original image:


As you can see above, the original graphs look quite complicated and not very easily understood. My boss, Asher Minns, who leads the communications at the Tyndall Centre, asked me to do a simple graph, showing only the major plot points for each scenario, with emphasis on the lines to show the amount of CO2 emissions per scenario and the temperature rise it’s headed towards. Here is the GIF I made:


The GIF link doesn’t show the whole graph, so here is a link to the full (and full-screen) version: