• Provide state-of-the-art scientific, policy and analytical support to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Country Group (LDCs) negotiators in the international climate-policy negotiations and intergovernmental climate-science assessment processes, in particular the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5).
  • Provide in-session and inter-sessional support on scientific, technical and policy questions for delegations from these regions in the form of oral, visual, and written briefings.
  • Help strengthening scientific expertise in these areas and to assist in building in-house capacity within SIDS and LDCs negotiating teams.

PREVENT uses the PRIMAP model to synthesise science, impacts and policy analyses.

PREVENT concept

PREVENT is inherently inter-disciplinary and comprises three interlinked elements of work:

1. Climate policy strategy

Our focus is on assistance to countries, in particular the most vulnerable ones, and other stakeholders in defining their interests within the international climate change negotiations and ensuring that science-based policy and analytical advice is available when needed.

PREVENT team members will use model and other scientific and policy analysis tools to evaluate and assess the design, negotiation and implementation of the post-2012 international climate regime. The PREVENT team will work with its network of close contacts with key stakeholder groups, negotiators and policy makers from vulnerable countries.

2. Climate policy analysis

PREVENT will use a regional and national emission allocation model including the emission allocation options that are most likely to influence the post-2012 climate regime architecture: Multi-Stage, the Brazilian proposal of historic responsibility, the BASIC proposal, Greenhouse Development Rights, Per capita convergence and Full-Carbon Accounting and crediting for reduced emissions from deforestation. Quantitative assessments of the latter two land-use related architectural options, e.g. in regard to their impact on regime stability in the light of natural carbon stock fluctuations, could be supported by a leading dynamic vegetation model (LPJ) available at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. For the multi-gas characteristics of emission pathways, the project will be building on our Equal-Quantile-Walk method, among others. As a downloadable model with easily accessible user interface, this method is now widely applied in the field (see www.simcap.org and e.g. Stern Review, 2006; United Nations Human Development Report 2007/2008). Development of the emission allocation module would include economic cost effectiveness tools and a limited degree of technological resolution for the evaluation of options such as sectoral or sustainable development policy and measure approaches for developing country mitigation.

On the opposite side of the cause-and-effect chain, policy needs to be shaped by a better understanding of what constitutes dangerous climate changes for different groups, regions and stakeholders. Following consultation with key stakeholder groups, negotiators and policy makers from vulnerable countries, PREVENT will deliver a focused flow of impact and risk information from its Science, vulnerability, impacts and risks element (see below) to the policy process. This is of potential use for alliance building at negotiations, to some extent following the example of the Alliance of Small Island States sharing a mutual concern for the impacts of sea-level rise.

3. Science, vulnerability, impacts and risks

The team will build the PRIMAP model at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, which will synthesise earth system science for use in international climate policy to answer two key questions:

  • What is the probability of key climate impacts under particular emission pathways, climate policy architectures and/or specific proposals?
  • What global emission pathways are required to avoid or limit identified risks and impacts and what are the implications of these for regional and national emissions?

Implications for global and regional policies and the post-2012 architecture if particular impacts, climate risks, or changes in temperature should be avoided with a given probability will be mapped out by PREVENT. A reliable, flexible and comprehensive tool for synthesising projected climate patterns will be developed for this purpose.

On the impact side particular attention will be given to climate extremes from the new generation of higher resolution climate models so as to more comprehensively characterise climate risks on regional scales. A key output of the work will be the visualisation of regional changes in, e.g. extremes of heat waves, droughts, floods and sea level rise changes, derived via state-of-the-art pattern scaling approaches building on the latest suite of earth system models.

The primary simple climate model used in past Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports will be used to emulate state of the art higher complexity climate models. The causal chain from emissions to impacts, vulnerability and risk will be developed by PREVENT: A synthesis of model-based and other impact assessments will be included in the tools. A web-based georeferenced visualisation of the climatic, ecosystem and human system impacts is envisaged.

The PRIMAP model and related tools will be fast and flexible enough so that they can also fulfil ‘real-time’ tasks during the negotiations.


The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) e.V. is hosting PREVENT and works in collaboration with Climate Analytics to carry out the objectives and work of the project. PIK’s contribution to PREVENT team focus on the PRIMAP model that is able to integrate climate change science, impacts and policy and assist in the analysis of question and issues which SIDS and LDCs identify as important for the negotiations.

Dr. Malte Meinshausen (PIK, Potsdam, Germany) is co-leader of the PRIMAP model with Dr. hc. Bill Hare (PIK and Climate Analytics, Potsdam, Germany). Bill Hare and Dr. Michiel Schaeffer (Climate Analytics, Kigali, Rwanda) will lead the work providing in-session and intersessional support on scientific, technical and policy questions.

Models & Data – PRIMAP

The PRIMAP model (Potsdam Real-Time Integrated Model for probabilistic Assessment of emission Paths) is the key method to provide scientific and technical advice by the PREVENT project. This model includes assessment of impacts or the purposes of defining emission pathways consistent with avoidance of specified damages and assessment of policy options and issues put forward in the climate negotiations. Concrete elements of the PRIMAP model relevant to issues identified by SIDS and LDC will be developed.

This PRIMAP model consists of three modules:

  • The emission module, which builds on, and extends on existing emission databases, offers a dynamic generation of composite data series, an uncertainty analysis across different sources and a flexible query structure for the real-time assessment of post-2012 emission target proposals. Key focus in the further development of this module rests on the ability to assess post-2012 negotiation proposals in regard to their environmental integrity (ability to drive down emissions) and regional distribution of the emission allocations.
  • The climate module, is based on MAGICC 6.0, and will provide state-of-the art emulation of high-complexity carbon and climate models, as well as the probabilistic global temperature outcomes for emission scenarios based on historical constraints.
  • The pattern-scaling and impact modules are going to provide the linkage between global temperatures and regional probabilistic changes in precipitation and temperatures based on the latest high-complexity coupled climate ocean experiments. The impacts module, connecting regional climate changes to exceeding probabilities for key impact thresholds, will be another vital step to provide policy makers with the information: “how much emission reductions are necessary by when in order to avoid impact XY with probability Z”.