Shared Socioeconomic Pathways

The Energy Program (ENE) continued to lead the field of socioeconomic scenarios for the integrated assessment of climate change. In 2015, a series of papers were submitted to a special issue of the journal Global Environmental Change, providing a detailed account of the main characteristics of five Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and related integrated assessment scenarios.

© Beijing Hetuchuangyi Images Co,. Ltd . | Dreamstime

© Beijing Hetuchuangyi Images Co,. Ltd . | Dreamstime

The year 2015 was critical for research regarding the SSPs. Under the coordination of the ENE Program, and with critical contributions by the Ecosystems Services and Management, World Population, and Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases Programs, no less than fourteen journal articles were submitted to a special issue of Global Environmental Change. This body of research provides a detailed account of the main characteristics of five SSPs and other integrated assessment scenarios. The full assessment will be released to the community in 2016 and will form the main building block of the “new scenario framework” that the community has established for an integrated assessment of climate change mitigation, adaptation, impacts, and vulnerabilities. This will feed into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Specifically, the papers provide a detailed discussion of the different dimensions of the SSPs, including transition pathways for the energy and land systems as well as associated greenhouse gas emissions. The aim is to offer the community a set of common assumptions for alternative socioeconomic development pathways. The narratives and the quantitative SSPs serve the purpose of providing the Impact, Adaptation, and Vulnerability; Integrated Assessment Modeling and climate modeling communities with information that enables them to use the scenario framework for a new generation of climate research. The special issue is therefore a starting point for new climate change assessments through the lens of the SSPs and the new scenario framework.


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), USA

National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), Italy

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), USA

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 

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Last edited: 13 May 2016

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