LIMITS is a 3-year research effort (starting in October 2011), which includes twelve partners from Europe, China, India, Japan and the USA. The project brings together experts in several different research domains: integrated assessment modelling, energy system analysis, finance, economic development, land use and agriculture.

LIMITS (Low climate IMpact scenarios and the Implications of required Tight emission control Strategies) is funded by the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement no. 282846. The project aims at advancing the understanding of the implementation of climate policies consistent with 2 degrees Celsius. The main objectives of the project are: (i) to provide an assessment of the emissions reductions strategies at the level of the world and the major global economies, and (ii) to disseminate this scientific knowledge in a form useful for climate and energy policy making.

LIMITS research is divided into five inter-linked work packages (WP):

  • WP1 – Global mitigation pathways for limiting global temperature increase below 2 C
  • WP2 – Implementation in major economies: Policy, institutional and financing needs
  • WP3 – Implementation in major economies: Changes to energy infrastructure and land use patterns
  • WP4 – Multiple benefits of climate mitigation and implications for development
  • WP5 – Policy Outreach

LIMITS is coordinated by the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) (Project Coordinator: Massimo Tavoni; Project Manager: Mariaester Cassinelli). The Coordination Board of the project also includes IIASA (Keywan Riahi), PIK (Elmar Kriegler), and UU (Detlef van Vuuren). The advisory board for the project consists of Alessandro Lanza (Luiss University, Italy, and Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, Italy), Ray Kopp (Resources For the Future, USA), Bert Metz (European Climate Foundation, The Netherlands), and H. H. Rogner (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, and Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden).

Further information about LIMITS is available on the LIMITS project website.

Contents of the Database

The LIMITS Scenario Database is operated by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) for the LIMITS consortium. It hosts the model results that were used in writing the series of papers deriving from WP1 and WP4 of the LIMITS project. These papers are compiled in a special issue of the journal Climate Change Economics. This s.i., which was published in early-2014, primarily analyzes Durban Platform scenarios. Pre-prints of the papers can be found on the LIMITS project website.

In addition, LIMITS results were relied upon extensively in preparing the 5th Assessment Report (AR5, Working Group III) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); hence, scenario results found in the LIMITS database can also be found in the AR5 Scenario Database.


After logging in to the database, users can browse scenario results across a range of energy, climate, air pollution, socio-economic and cost metrics. Definitions of the variables used in WP1 and WP4 of the LIMITS project can be found here. Note that data are presented only for those variables that were used in the papers of the LIMITS WP1 special issue, in support of IPCC AR5 or other publications. This explains why some data fields in the database are empty for certain variable-model-scenario-region combinations.


Seven global integrated assessment modeling frameworks participated in WP1 of the LIMITS project: AIM-Enduse, GCAM, IMAGE, MESSAGE, TIAM-ECN, REMIND, and WITCH. Five global integrated assessment modeling frameworks participated in WP4 of the LIMITS project: IMAGE, MESSAGE, TIAM-ECN, REMIND, and WITCH. Detailed information about these models can be found by consulting the references to the two overview papers of the LIMITS WP1 special issue on Durban Platform scenarios: Kriegler et al. (2014) and Tavoni et al. (2014). (Full citations below; pre-prints found here):

Scenarios in WP1

The LIMITS WP1 study evaluated 2 degree C scenarios that were tailored to represent a set of plausible outcomes of the Durban platform negotiations on a post-2020 climate treaty. To this end, twelve (12) scenarios were run, as outlined in Table 1.

The scenario design addressed the most important features of the 2C space:

  • the long term climate objective of both 450 and 500 ppm CO2-eq, which would yield reasonably high and even chances of achieving 2C, respectively,
  • the level of ambition in 2020, with a more lenient reference policy ('weak') reflecting the unconditional Copenhagen Pledges and a more stringent version ('stringent') based on conditional Copenhagen Pledges,
  • the level of international cooperation until 2020 and 2030, and
  • the burden sharing scheme to be adopted once the international treaty is signed (no sharing, per-capita convergence and equal effort)

More information on the scenarios, as well as their objectives and underlying assumptions, can be found in the LIMITS WP1 study protocol. Further information is given in the two overview papers of the LIMITS WP1 special issue (Climate Change Economics or pre-prints).

Table 1: Scenario design and naming convention of the LIMITS WP1 study.

Scenarios in WP4

The LIMITS WP4 study evaluated scenarios of ambitious energy and oil independence targets, as outlined in Table 2. More information on the scenarios, as well as their objectives and underlying assumptions can be found in the Nature Energy paper. Note all scenarios in LIMITS WP4 were trade-calibrated in the base year unless otherwise noted in the table.

Table 2: Scenario design and naming convention of the LIMITS WP1 study.


The data supplied on this site are for informational purposes only. Parts thereof may be freely used and distributed for non-commercial and educational reasons, as long as proper acknowledgment is given to one of the two overview papers of the special issue or to the topic-specific papers therein (e.g., if corresponding data from those topical papers are used in subsequent analyses). Full references to the overview papers are listed below. To access these papers and for citation information on the topic-specific papers, see the special issue (Climate Change Economics or pre-prints).

Global analysis: E. Kriegler, M. Tavoni, T. Aboumahboub, G. Luderer, K. Calvin, G. De Maere, V. Krey, K. Riahi, H. Rosler, M. Schaeffer, D. van Vuuren (2013): What does the 2C target imply for a global climate agreement in 2020? The LIMITS study on Durban Platform scenarios, Climate Change Economics 4(4), doi: 10.1142/S2010007813400083.

Regional and burden-sharing analysis: M. Tavoni, E. Kriegler, T. Aboumahboub, K. Calvin, G. De Maere, J. Jewell, T. Kober, P. Lucas, G. Luderer, D. McCollum, G. Marangoni, K. Riahi, D. van Vuuren (2013): The distribution of the major economies' effort in the Durban platform scenarios, Climate Change Economics 4(4), doi: 10.1142/S2010007813400095.

Energy independence analysis: J. Jewell, V. Vinichenko, D. McCollum, N. Bauer, K. Riahi, T. Aboumahboub, O. Fricko, M. Harmsen, T. Kober, V. Krey, G. Marangoni, M. Tavoni, D. van Vuuren, B. van der Zwaan, A. Cherp (2016): Comparison and interactions between the long-term pursuit of energy independence and climate policies, Nature Energy XX, doi: 10.1038/NENERGY.2016.73.

Individual documents on this webpage may have different copyright conditions than IIASA; these conditions will be noted in the respective documents. Views or opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other supporting institutions.

Participating Institutions

The LIMITS consortium is comprised of 12 institutions, including some of the most recognized integrated assessment and energy-environmental modeling teams from Europe, China, India, Japan and the USA. The project benefited from the capabilities of several different energy-economy and integrated assessment modeling frameworks, each of which has unique structures and functions. The diversity of these models increased the robustness of the insights derived and allowed for the identification of areas of uncertainty where model results differ.

  1. Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), Italy (Project Manager and Coordinator WP2)
  2. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria (Coordinator WP4)
  3. Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany (Coordinator WP1)
  4. Utrecht University (UU), The Netherlands (Coordinator WP3)
  5. London School of Economics and political science (LSE), United Kingdom
  6. Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), The Netherlands (Coordinator WP5)
  7. Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission, Italy
  8. Central European University (CEU), Hungary
  9. National Development and Reform Commission Energy Research Institute (NDRC-ERI), China
  10. Indian Institute of Management (IIM), India
  11. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI) at the University of Maryland, USA (Associated partner)
  12. National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan (Associated partner)

Database Tutorial


A short tutorial on the use of the web database can be found below. If you experience technical problems with this database, please contact the LIMITS Database Administrator.

The Navigation tabs

At the upper end of the browser window are three navigation tabs that provide different ways of viewing the data in the web database. These three tabs are described in more detail in the following section.

Sectors tab

The Sectors tab allows the user to select multiple variables from a single scenario and region. This view is most useful for displaying a set of variables from one sector (e.g., all fuel types of industrial final energy consumption). If the variables can be added in a meaningful way (e.g., different fuel types of one sector), a stacked area graph is shown. If this is not possible (e.g., for different fuel prices), a line graph is displayed. In case variables with different units are selected, a warning is issued on the y-axis label of the graph in red. Please note that for the graph on the right hand side to be updated, it is necessary to mark a variable name (highlighted in blue) in addition to selecting variables (see also the description under (3.) Variables below).

Series tab

The Series tab allows selecting a single variable from multiple scenarios and regions. The preview graph on the right is always a line graph and is most useful for comparing trends across different scenarios (and models) in one or multiple regions.

Scatter tab

The Scatter tab allows one to look at the relationship between two variables. One can select one variable from the navigation tree for the x-axis and another variable for the y-axis. It is also possible to examine growth rates and per capita, per GDP, and per final or primary energy values.

Common Features of the Sectors, Series, and Scatter tabs

In all three view-tabs, the following selections can be made by using the navigation bars on the upper left-hand side of the browser window:

(1.) Regions: In the upper-left area of the screen is a field named Regions. Depending on the tab (see above), you may select one or multiple regions for which the data are shown on the screen. See Region definitions for a description of each region.

(2.) Scenarios: This field includes the list of scenarios from which one or more scenarios can be selected. In addition to scenarios, historical and base year data are included for some variables and can be compared with scenario results. Note that only some emission and energy variables are included in the historical data.

(3.) Variables: This field includes a list of the variables that can be selected within the database. Note that, in the Sectors tab, one must not only select one or multiple variables, but also mark a variable name (highlighted in blue) in order for the graph on the right hand side to be updated. It is not important which variable or variable category is marked to initiate the graph update.

The Chart Preview on the upper right-hand side of the browser window shows the graph of the selected data (variable + scenarios + regions). In addition, the horizontally oriented Query Results area in the middle of the screen shows the data in tabular format.

It is possible to export the data either into Excel or two different graphical formats (PNG = portable network graphics, SVG = scalable vector graphics). In order to do so, select one of the options in the Output Options window at the bottom of the browser window. The field titled Notes shows additional information or explanatory text for the selected variables. The availability of notes is still under development and the contents depend on input from modeling teams.

Region definitions

The consolidated results in the database are shown at regional aggregations of the World, five (5) macro-regions, seven (7) individual countries/regions with large economies (i.e., those commonly used in scenario analyses), and a 10+1 "super region" level. The latter aggregation, which was developed specifically for the LIMITS project, is intended to maximize overlap between native model regions but still be disaggregated enough for subsequent analyses. These regions are defined as follows.

Aggregation on the five-region level

OECD90 = Includes the OECD 90 countries.
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Guam, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vanuatu

Reforming Economies (REF) = Countries from the Reforming Economies of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union.
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, TFYR Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia

Asia (ASIA) = Includes most Asian countries with the exception of the Middle East, Japan and Former Soviet Union states.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, China Hong Kong SAR, China Macao SAR, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Viet Nam

Middle East and Africa (MAF) = Includes the countries of the Middle East and Africa.
Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Reunion, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Latin America (LAM) = Includes the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela

Seven individual countries/regions commonly used in scenario analysis

Brazil = Federative Republic of Brazil
China = People's Republic of China
India = Republic of India
EU = European Union (27 member countries) = sum of EU15 and EU12 (see below)
Japan = State of Japan
Russia = Russian Federation
USA = United States of America

10+1 "super regions" developed for the LIMITS project

AFRICA = countries of Sub-Saharan Africa
CHINA+ = countries of centrally-planned Asia, primarily China
EUROPE = countries of Eastern and Western Europe (i.e., the EU27)
INDIA+ = countries of South Asia, primarily India
LATIN_AM = countries of Latin America and the Caribbean
MIDDLE_EAST = countries of the Middle East
NORTH_AM = countries of North America, primarily the USA and Canada
PAC_OECD = countries of the Pacific OECD
REF_ECON = countries from the Reforming Economies of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
REST_ASIA = other countries of Asia
REST_WORLD = countries not elsewhere classified

A non-exhaustive listing of the countries included in these regions can be found here.



With respect to information available from this webpage, neither IIASA nor any of its employees make any warranty, expressed or implied, including warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, nor does IIASA assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, or process disclosed, nor does IIASA represent that its use would not infringe upon privately owned rights. The software is provided on an 'as is' basis and IIASA disclaims all liability of any kind whatsoever arising out of the use, or inability to use, the databases and all information and data contained within them. Parts of the pages or the complete model might be extended, changed or partly or completely deleted without separate announcement.

Referrals and links

This website may contain advice, opinions and statements from external websites. Hyperlinks to non-IIASA Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of, or responsibility for, the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations nor guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to other sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.

LIMITS Database, 2014, 2016
Available at: https://tntcat.iiasa.ac.at/LIMITSDB/

Responsible for this page: LIMITS Database Administrator