We compare prominent global energy scenarios of organisations and companies. We supplement the analysis with four own scenarios, which were derived from structured analytic techniques in combination with a numerical global energy and resource market model (Multimod). Our study provides three central contributions: (i) a compact survey of selected outlooks with meta characteristics (conceptual nature, numerical framework, qualitative elaboration) and quantitative energy system indicators at the global and regional (Europe, Asia-Pacific region, North America) level; (ii) numerous observations from a verbal analysis intended to stimulate future research; and (iii) the discussion of our own outlook. Among other conclusions, we find that scenarios essentially carrying forward current policies and/or trends lead to future worlds that do not meet the 2°C target of the Paris Agreement. Interestingly, there are both normative and exploratory scenarios reaching the Paris Agreement, and there is no consensus between outlooks on how to attain low-emission futures towards 2050. Some scenarios rely on a very strong role of renewables, others on a substantial role of negative emission technologies with fossil fuel use, yet others on assuming decreasing energy demand. There is a strong variation between outlooks with respect to transparency on scenario generation, modelling approach, and data. We argue that, in addition to transparency, the actual inclusion of a qualitative analysis of drivers and storylines helps ensure the political, social and technological feasibility of scenarios.
Keywords: Energy outlook, Scenario, Energy modelling, Climate change, Survey