The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) has been widely used to analyze climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation. The storylines behind these scenarios outline alternative development pathways, which have been the base for climate research and other studies at global, regional and country level. Based on the global income distribution and poverty module (GlobPov), we assess the implication of the IPCC SRES scenarios on global poverty and inequality. We find that global poverty and inequality measures are sensitive to the downscaling methodology used. Our results show that future economic growth is crucial for poverty reduction. Higher per capita incomes tend to favour poverty reduction, while higher population growth rates delay this progress. Scenarios that combine high economic growth and convergence assumptions with low population growth rates produce better outcomes. China and India play a central role on poverty reduction and global inequality. While high economic growth rates in China and India may lift millions out of poverty, high population growth and stagnation in African economies could offset the situation.