About the Calculator

The Global Calculator is a model of the world's energy, land and food systems that allows users to explore the options for reducing global emissions to 2050, and to see the climate consequences of these choices to 2100. It is a free, interactive and open-source tool that helps you to understand the link between our lifestyle, the energy we use, and the consequences for our climate.

The Calculator is aimed at anyone interested in exploring what a low-carbon world could look like, but may particularly be of interest to people working in business, government, NGOs or university students. The Calculator has been funded by the UK Government's International Climate Fund and the EU's Climate-KIC, and has been built by an international team from many organisations. 

The basis of the Calculator model is an Excel spreadsheet, which has a more user-friendly, web-based interface. The full Excel model is available to download so that you can examine how it works and the assumptions that have been used. It is a relatively simple engineering-based scenario model, which means that:

  • it models the world’s energy supply and demand by modelling physical units such as land, cars and power plants
  • the user chooses the characteristics, deployment and use of these different technologies
  • it makes no economics-based assumptions about the way people's behaviour changes in relation to supply and demand 
  • it doesn't automatically optimise the energy system based on price or any other factor.  

These pages explain the methodology used in the Global Calculator, and provide details about how each sector is modelled. We have tried to include as much information as possible as part of our commitment to being open and transparent.

Visit the Using the Calculator section for guidance on how to use the tool, and the Developing the Calculator section to find out more about the history of the project. You can also visit the Insights page to see what the Calculator tells us about what we need to do to keep climate change below a 2°C rise in temparature.