Shell’s Sky Scenario is a challenging but technically viable solution to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of reducing global surface temperatures by two degrees Celsius – the energy company plans to transform to a lower-carbon energy system by harnessing hydrogen. By 2070, the world can achieve net-zero carbon emissions to meet the Paris Accord goal.

Using their Integrated Global System Modeling (IGSM) framework, MIT Boston assessed the climate outcomes from the Sky scenario and published their work evaluating the climate impacts of Sky entitled “Meeting the Goals of the Paris Agreement: Temperature Implications of the Shell Sky Scenario”. The report’s summary highlights,
“We find that for the median climate parameters the global surface temperature increase by 2100 is 1.75°C above the pre-industrial levels with an 85% probability of remaining below 2°C.”

According to Shell, consumers, companies and governments will face tough choices and the paths towards lower-carbon energy will vary by country and sector. Over the course of 50 years, it transforms the way society uses and produces energy. The Sky Scenario relies on a complex combination of mutually reinforcing actions by society, markets and governments. It recognises that the necessary changes will unfold at different paces in different places, and must ultimately transform all sectors of economic activity. The changes are economy-wide, sector-specific, and amount to re-wiring the global economy in just 50 years.

The Sky Scenario is joined two by other scenarios Mountains and Oceans – in its Shell New Lens Scenario. 

Mountains and Oceans explore alternative socio-political pathways and their impact on energy developments, with emissions as an open-ended outcome. Sky also adopts an approach grounded in the reality of current economic and policy development mechanisms, but then progressively becomes driven simply by the ambitious goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 within techno-economic possibilities. Such a goal-driven scenario is sometimes referred to as “normative”.

By adopting a modelling approach grounded in the current reality of the energy system, but then combined with a specific long-term goal, Sky is intended to be both an ambitious scenario and a realistic tool to inform dialogue.