Transformation to a Low Carbon Society

Substantial transformational changes are required to achieve two contradictory goals: enabling further development in developtin and industrialized countries and at the same time halving GHG emissions. IIASA research activities focus on developing strategies that will help accomplish the long-term objective of stabilizing global mean temperatures at 2°C above pre-industrial levels while allowing for the increase in economic actvities required for further human development and wellbeing.

Achieving that goal will require policymakers around the world to make informed choices about investments and incentives with the goal of reducing the carbon intensity of economic activities by 40 percent over the next two decades.

IIASA has a two-pronged modeling approach to decarbonization: the Model for Energy Supply Strategy Alternatives and their General Environmental Impact (MESSAGE) and the Greenhouse gas–Air pollution Interactions and Synergies model (GAINS). IIASA’s global and regional energy supply scenarios, based on the MESSAGE model, emphasize the dynamics of transformational changes and the requirements of the transitions from the medium to the long term under environmental and climate change constraints. The shorter-term-oriented GAINS model, usually defined at the national scale, focuses on near- and medium-term technology choices to achieve specific air pollutant and greenhouse gas reduction goals. Efforts will be made to further develop these two approaches so that they complement each other and thus permit an integrated assessment of climate policies bridging important spatial and temporal scales. This will involve (i) downscaling approaches for the spatially explicit representation of the energy scenario work to selected local and national levels, and (ii) extending the GAINS framework to longer time horizons and scaling it up to the regional and global level.

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Last edited: 22 July 2013


Markus Amann

Program Director

Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases

T +43(0) 2236 807 432

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313