Six different scenarios to assess transition and physical risks

To cover a broad range of physical and transition risks, the NGFS has designed 6 scenarios with the help of a group of renowned academic research institutions. These scenarios share similar socio-economic assumptions. They assume a continuation of current economic and population trends, though accounting for a COVID shock.

Net Zero 2050

Net Zero 2050 is an ambitious scenario that limits global warming to 1.5 °C through stringent climate policies and innovation, reaching net zero CO₂ emissions around 2050. Some jurisdictions such as the US, EU and Japan reach net zero for all greenhouse gases by this point.

Below 2 °C

Below 2 °C gradually increases the stringency of climate policies, giving a 67 % chance of limiting global warming to below 2 °C.

Divergent Net Zero

Divergent Net Zero reaches net-zero by 2050 but with higher costs due to divergent policies introduced across sectors and a quicker phase out of fossil fuels.

Delayed Transition

Delayed Transition assumes global annual emissions do not decrease until 2030. Strong policies are then needed to limit warming to below 2 °C. Negative emissions are limited.

Nationally Determined Contributions

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) includes all pledged policies even if not yet implemented.

Current Policies

Current Policies assumes that only currently implemented policies are preserved, leading to high physical risks.

Physical risks Transition risks Disorderly Disorderly Orderly Orderly Too little, too late Too little, too late Hot house world Hot house world Delayed Transition Delayed Transition Divergent Net Zero Divergent Net Zero Current policies Current policies NDCs NDCs Net Zero 2050 Net Zero 2050 Below 2°C Below 2°C

Portraits of two opposite scenarios

+1.5 °C

+3 °C

More transition risks
More physical risks

Net-zero 2050

Current policies

Reaching net zero global CO₂ emissions by 2050 will require an ambitious transition across all sectors of the economy. Scenarios tend to emphasise the importance of decarbonising the electricity supply, increasing electricity use, increasing energy efficiency, and developing new technologies to tackle hard-to-abate emissions. Transition risks to the economy could result from higher emissions costs and changes in business and consumer preferences. Physical risks would be minimised.

While many countries have started to introduce climate policies, they are not yet sufficient to achieve official commitments and targets. If no further measures are introduced 3 °C or more of warming could occur by 2100. This would likely result in deteriorating living conditions in many parts of the world and lead to some irreversible impacts like sea-level rise. Physical risks to the economy could result from disruption to ecosystems, health, infrastructure and supply chains.

Reaching net zero by 2050

Decarbonising electricity

Decarbonising the power sector is a central pillar of the transition to a net-zero carbon economy. It requires switching to alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind or nuclear, as well as some targeted deployment of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) for new and existing power plants. Complementary investment will also be needed in new grid management and storage solutions to ensure continued reliability. Fossil-fired power plants risk losing revenues and becoming stranded.

Electricity generation in EJ per year

Physical risks in a 3°C world

Rising mean temperatures

Continued emissions of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution have led to about 1.2 °C of global warming. Current temperatures are higher than at any time in the last 12,000 years. If no further climate policies are implemented both average and extreme temperature changes are expected throughout the 21st century. Global warming of 1.5 °C could be reached in the 2030s and 2 °C around 2050. Warming beyond these levels is projected to lead to a non-linear increase in severe and irreversible climate impacts.

Change in Global Mean Temperature relative to pre-industrial values in C°

Explore the transition data

To account for uncertainty, the 6 NGFS scenarios have been generated by 3 different integrated assessment models, namely GCAM, MESSAGEix-GLOBIOM and REMIND-MAgPIE. Use the interactive tool below to visualise how key transition variables differ across these models and scenarios. Note that links are provided to the NGFS IIASA Scenario Explorer to look at further details.

Electricity generation in EJ per year

Select scenarios to compare values across models and scenarios.

Physical risks High Low Transition risks High Low Click to set Delayed Transition as scenario in the bottom row. Delayed Transition Delayed Transition Click to set Divergent Net Zero as scenario in the bottom row. Divergent Net Zero Divergent Net Zero Click to set Current policies as scenario in the bottom row. Current policies Current policies Click to set NDCs as scenario in the bottom row. NDCs NDCs Net Zero 2050 Net Zero 2050 Click to set Below 2°C as scenario in the bottom row. Below 2°C Below 2°C
This data in the NGFS IIASA Scenario Explorer
  • REMIND-MAgPIE
    Electricity generation in EJ per year in Net Zero 2050
  • GCAM
  • MESSAGEix-GLOBIOM
  • REMIND-MAgPIE
    Electricity generation in EJ per year
  • GCAM
  • MESSAGEix-GLOBIOM

Explore the physical risk data

The Climate Impact Explorer provides first-hand access to projections of physical climate risks at the national and subnational level. Scenario and warming level dependent impacts are provided for chronic and acute climate changes, as well as direct damages for selected sectors.

NGFS CA Climate Impact Explorer
NGFS CA Climate Impact Explorer
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Use scenarios

Learn how to use the NGFS scenarios to suit your needs and explore key transition, physical and macro-economic risk metrics derived from these scenarios.

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Data and resources

Access the NGFS scenario data through the Scenario and Climate Impact explorers. Find other relevant resources to learn more about the scenarios and how to use them.

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FAQ

See answers to frequently asked general questions on scenarios as well as technical questions on socio-economic assumptions, policy assumptions, spatial, temporal and economical aspects.

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