Scenarios for the Future In general, ‘Markets First‘ and ‘Security First’ have
the worst impacts across a wide range of measures,
In the face of climate change and other challenges
including anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
to the environment, GEO-4 analyses four scenarios,
‘Sustainability First’ comes out best across a number
which could potentially develop over future years,
of indicators. Even here, climate change continues
depending on decisions taken today.
to be a persistent problem and it is not possible to
avoid potentially significant warming and sea level
Notwithstanding different carbon emission path-
ways all scenarios show a distinct increase in CO
concentrations in the atmosphere and an increase
Yet under the ‘Sustainability First’ scenario, there is
in the global mean temperature, ranging from about
hope. While achieving environmental and human
1.7°C above pre-industrial levels in 2050 in ‘Sus-
well-being goals is a complex business, investing
tainability First’ to about 2.2°C in ‘Markets First’.
in environmental and social sustainability does not
impair economic development. Integrating policies
at all levels and across all sectors and time is a key
step along the way.
DownloaD Graphic 2
The ‘Markets First’ scenario has the private The ‘Policy First’ scenario has government,
sector, with active government support, with active private and civil sector support,
pursuing maximum economic initiating and implementing policies
growth as the best path to to improve the environment and
improve the environment human well-being while still
and human well-being. emphasizing economic
Under the ‘Security
In the ‘Sustainability
government and the
private sector compete society and the private
for control in efforts to sector work together to
improve, or at least maintain, improve the environment and
human well-being for mainly the human well-being, with a strong
rich and powerful in society. emphasis on equity.
18 VITAL GEO GRAPHICS