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scenarios for Switzerland


Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft (WSL)




INFRAS, Zoï Environment Network

Decisions about the extent to which climate change will change our world need to be made today. But which assumptions about the future are they based on? Prognos, together with other institutions, will examine how the different socioeconomic development pathways impact greenhouse gases up to 2100 in Switzerland. The project is being led by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).

What will Switzerland look like in the future?

The Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine have shown how dependent the production of climate-damaging greenhouse gases is on societal influence factors – factors that at first glance have nothing to do with energy. The modelling of different social, political, and economic development directions can thus help policy recognise risk and make long-term strategic decisions.

In the context of the Switzerland National Centre for Climate Services’ (NCCS) “Impacts” programme, the WSL is developing five socioeconomic scenarios for how Switzerland might look up to the year 2100. The scenarios will be elaborated according to the European Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP).

On this basis, together with INFRAS, Prognos calculates the greenhouse gas emissions. We consider emissions from:

  • energy supply and use
  • agriculture
  • the waste sector

In addition, we examine the impact of land use and estimate the effect of different economic and environmental political decisions. Zoï Environment Network is supporting us with the communication of the results. 

Modelling as a basis for political decision making

The project takes the following socioeconomic development paths of the (SSP) differentiated by the WSL for Switzerland as its basis:

  1. In the sustainable scenario, global common goods are preserved, and nature’s limits respected. In place of economic growth, focus is on increasing human well-being. Income inequality between states and within them is reduced.
  2. In scenario two the income development of individual countries diverge considerably. Although states do work together, cooperation stagnates. The global population increase is moderate and diminishes in the second half of the century. Environmental systems deteriorate further.
  3. The third scenario is defined by regional rivalries. A revival of nationalism and regional conflicts mean global concerns take a back seat. Politics is increasingly defined by questions of national and regional security. Investment in education and technological development decreases.
  4. In the fourth scenario global disparity is increased. The divide between developed nations and the global South becomes more pronounced. In some regions local environmental policy is successful, in others not.
  5. The fossil scenario is characterised by globalisation and economic growth and there are both innovations and technological advances. The social and economical development is, however, based on the increased exploitation of fossil fuels with a high proportion of coal and an energy-intensive lifestyle, worldwide.

Links and downloads

More information about the project (NCCS website)

Project team: Dr Andreas Kemmler, Dr Almut Kirchner, Dr Alexander Piégsa, Sven Kreidelmeyer, Tim Trachsel, Dr Fabian Muralter

Last update: 30.11.2023

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Dr Andreas Kemmler

Senior Project Manager

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Dr Almut Kirchner

Partner, Director

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Prognos is one of the oldest economic research centres in Europe. Founded at the University of Basel, Prognos experts have been conducting research for a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors since 1959 – politically independent, scientifically sound.

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