Climatic implications of revised IPCC emissions scenarios, the Kyoto Protocol and quantification of uncertainties

Suraje Dessai, Mike Hulme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In December 1997, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) adopted the Kyoto Protocol. This paper describes a framework that models the climatic implications of this international agreement, using Monte Carlo simulations and the preliminary Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions scenarios (SRES). Emissions scenarios (including intervention scenarios), climate sensitivity, and terrestrial carbon sink are the key sampled model parameters. This framework gives prior probability distributions to these parameters and, using a simple climate model, posterior distributions of global temperature change are determined for the future.

Our exercise showed that the Kyoto Protocol's effectiveness will be mostly dependent upon which SRES world evolves. In some worlds the Protocol decreases the warming considerably but in others it is almost irrelevant. We exemplified this approach with a current FCCC issue, namely “hot air”. This modelling framework provides a probabilistic assessment of climate policies, which can be useful for decision-makers involved in global climate change management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
JournalIntegrated Assessment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • climate change
  • climate policy
  • global modelling
  • greenhouse gas emissions scenarios
  • uncertainty analysis

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