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Model Documentation - MESSAGE-GLOBIOM
Corresponding documentation
Model information
Institution International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria,
main users: IIASA, the MESSAGE model is distributed via the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to member countries
Solution concept
Solution method
Anticipation Myopic/Perfect Foresight (MESSAGE can be run both with perfect foresight and myopically, while GLOBIOM runs myopically)

Carbon-dioxide (CO2)

The MESSAGE model includes a detailed representation of energy-related and - via the link to GLOBIOM - land-use CO2 emissions (Riahi and Roehrl, 2000 1; Riahi, Rubin et al., 2004 2; Rao and Riahi, 2006 3; Riahi et al., 2011 4). CO2 emission factors of fossil fuels and biomass are based on the 1996 version of the IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories 5 (see Table 1). It is important to note that biomass is generally treated as being carbon neutral in the energy system, because the effects on the terrestrial carbon stocks are accounted for on the land use side, i.e. in GLOBIOM (see section Land-Use of MESSAGE-GLOBIOM). The CO2 emission factor of biomass is, however, relevant in the application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) where the carbon content of the fuel and the capture efficiency of the applied process determine the amount of carbon captured per unit of energy.

Table 1: Carbon emission factors used in MESSAGE based on IPCC (1996, Table 1-2 1). For convenience, emission factors are shown in three different units.
Fuel Emission factor [tC/TJ] Emission factor [tCO2/TJ] Emission factor [tC/kWyr]
Hard coal 25.8 94.6 0.814
Lignite 27.6 101.2 0.870
Crude oil 20.0 73.3 0.631
Light fuel oil 20.0 73.3 0.631
Heavy fuel oil 21.1 77.4 0.665
Methanol 17.4 63.8 0.549
Natural gas 15.3 56.1 0.482
Solid biomass 29.9 109.6 0.942

CO2 emissions of fossil fuels for the entire energy system are accounted for at the resource extraction level by applying the CO2 emission factors listed in Table 1 to the extracted fossil fuel quantities. In this economy-wide accounting, carbon emissions captured in CCS processes remove carbon from the balance equation, i.e. they contribute with a negative emission coefficient. In parallel, a sectoral accounting of CO2 emissions is performed which applies the same emission factors to fossil fuels used in individual conversion processes. In addition to conversion processes, also CO2 emissions from energy use in fossil fuel resource extraction are explicitly accounted for. An important feature of MESSAGE in this context is that CO2 emissions from the extraction process increase when moving from conventional to unconventional fossil fuel resources.

CO2 mitigation options in the energy system include technology and fuel shifts; efficiency improvements; and CCS. A large number of specific mitigation technologies are modeled bottom-up in MESSAGE with a dynamic representation of costs and efficiencies. As mentioned above, MESSAGE also includes a detailed representation of carbon capture and sequestration from both fossil fuel and biomass combustion.

Non-CO2 GHGs

MESSAGE includes a representation of non-CO2 GHGs (CH4, N2O, HFCs, SF6, PFCs) mandated by the Kyoto Protocol (Rao and Riahi, 2006 3) with the exception of NF3. Included is a representation of emissions and mitigation options from both energy related processes as well as non-energy sources like municipal solid waste disposal and wastewater. CH4 and N2O emissions from land are taken care of by the link to GLOBIOM.


  1. ^  Keywan Riahi, Alexander R Roehrl (2000). Greenhouse gas emissions in a dynamics-as-usual scenario of economic and energy development. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 63 (2), 175--205.
  2. ^  Keywan Riahi, Edward S Rubin, Leo Schrattenholzer (2004). Prospects for carbon capture and sequestration technologies assuming their technological learning. Energy, 29 (9), 1309--1318.
  3. a b  Shilpa Rao, Keywan Riahi (2006). The Role of Non-CO₃ Greenhouse Gases in Climate Change Mitigation: Long-term Scenarios for the 21st Century. The Energy Journal, (), 177--200.
  4. ^  Markus Amann, Imrich Bertok, Jens Borken-Kleefeld, Janusz Cofala, Chris Heyes, Lena Höglund-Isaksson, Zbigniew Klimont, Binh Nguyen, Maximilian Posch, Peter Rafaj, Robert Sandler, Wolfgang Schöpp, Fabian Wagner, Wilfried Winiwarter (2011, dec). RCP} 8.5—{A} scenario of comparatively high greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental Modelling \& Software, 109 (12), 1489--1501.
  5. ^  IPCC (1996). Revised 1996 {IPCC} Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: The Workbook (Volume 2). IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland.