Environmental indicators, modelling and outlooks

Modelling work behind the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050


The analysis for the OECD Environmental Outlook is supported by combining economic and environmental modelling frameworks at the OECD and the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL):


  • The ENV-Linkages model developed by the OECD Environment Directorate is a global dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model that describes how economic activities are linked between sectors and across regions. It also links economic activity to environmental pressure, specifically to emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). These links between economic activities and emissions are projected several decades into the future, and thus shed light on the impacts of environmental policies for the medium- and long-term future. This model was used to make projections of key socioeconomic drivers such as demographic developments, economic growth and developments in economic sectors. For more information, visit OECD’s ENV-Linkages model.


  • The IMAGE (Integrated Model to Assess the Global Environment) suite of models run by the PBL is a dynamic integrated assessment framework to model global change. The IMAGE suite is underpinned by modelling of global land allocation, subject to production of food, feed, timber and water,  and projects emissions, mapped onto a geospatial 0.5 x 0.5 degree grid of the world (in terms of latitude and longitude on the Earth’s surface). The IMAGE suite comprises models that also appear in the literature as models in their own right, and it has been used for other key global environmental assessments such as the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO) by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). IMAGE was further developed, extended  and refined since the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2030 (OECD, 2008). For more information, visit PBL’s IMAGE suite of models.

Regions and country groups used in the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050

Note 1: In the IMAGE model India means "India region", which also includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, when dealing with land use, biodiversity, water and health. For energy-related modelling the region has been split into India and the "Rest of South Asia". Similarly, the Southern Africa region includes ten other countries in this geographical area including the Republic of South Africa, when dealing with land use, biodiversity, water and health. For energy-related modelling the region has been split into the Republic of South Africa and "Rest of Southern Africa".

Note 2: In both IMAGE and ENV-Linkages models, China means "China region", which includes China, the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, Taiwan, and Mongolia. In the ENV-Linkages model the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is also included in this region, whereas in the IMAGE model this country is grouped with the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to form the "Korea" region. Similarly,  Russia means "Russia region" and it includes the Russian Federation, Armenia , Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

More information: OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction