In this paper, we propose a scenario framework that could provide a scenario ‘‘thread’’ through the different climate research communities (climate change – vulnerability, impact, and adaptation - and mitigation) in order to support assessment of mitigation and adaptation strategies and climate impacts. The scenario framework is organized around a matrix with two main axes: radiative forcing levels and socio-economic conditions. The radiative forcing levels (and the associated climate signal) are described by the new Representative Concentration Pathways. The second axis, socio-economic developments comprises elements that affect the capacity for mitigation and adaptation, as well as the exposure to climate impacts. The proposed scenarios derived from this framework are limited in number, allow for comparison across various mitigation and adaptation levels, address a range of vulnerability characteristics, provide information across climate forcing and vulnerability states and span a full century time scale. Assessments based on the proposed scenario framework would strengthen cooperation between integrated-assessment modelers, climate modelers and vulnerability, impact and adaptation researchers, and most importantly, facilitate the development of more consistent and comparable research within and across these research communities.