This article discusses some of the issues raised by scenario relevant research and analysis since the last set of IPCC scenarios were created (IPCC SRES, 2000) that will need to be addressed as new scenarios are developed by the research community during the second phase.

These include (1) providing a logic for how societies manage to transition from historical paths to the various future development paths foreseen in the scenarios, (2) long-term economic growth issues, (3) the appropriate GDP metric to use (purchasing power parity or market exchange rates), (4) ongoing issues with moving from the broad geographic and time scales of the emission scenarios to the finer scales needed for impacts, adaptation and vulnerability analyses and (5) some possible ways to handle the urgent request from the policy community for some guidance on scenario likelihoods.

The challenges involved in addressing these issues are manifold; the reward is greater credibility and deeper understanding of an analytic tool that does much to form the context within which many issues in addition to the climate problem will need to be addressed.

This forms the abstract of an article published in Environmental Research Letters. The full article is available here.

This letter is part of an ERL focus issue on Global Environmental Scenarios. The table of contents for this issue can be found here.