UK Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for Climate Research and Policy (UK-SSPs)

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This ground-breaking project aimed to develop shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) for the UK to help answer key questions about the country’s resilience to climate change.

The project was commissioned by the Met Office and was funded by the UK Climate Resilience Programme. It was carried out by Cambridge Econometrics in collaboration with the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), University of Edinburgh and University of Exeter.

Developed in collaboration with the UK’s research community, the final outputs of the project will lead to research that is consistent with the SSP framework used by the IPCC and will contribute towards future Climate Change Risk Assessments.

Click here for the latest updates about the project and here to access the products.

What are Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs)?

The global SSPs, used in IPCC assessments, are five different storylines of future socioeconomic circumstances, explaining how the global economy and society might evolve over the next 80 years. Crucially, the global SSPs are independent of climate change and climate change policy, i.e. they do not consider the potential impact climate change has on societal and economic choices.

Instead, they are designed to be coupled with a set of future climate scenarios, the Representative Concentration Pathways or ‘RCPs’. When combined together within climate research (in any number of ways), the SSPs and RCPs can tell us how feasible it would be to achieve different levels of climate change mitigation, and what challenges to climate change mitigation and adaptation might exist.

Until recently, UK-specific versions of the global SSPs were not available combined with the RCP-based climate projections. The aim of the project was to fill this gap by developing a set of socioeconomic scenarios for the UK that is consistent with the global SSPs used by the IPCC community, and which will provide the basis for further UK research on climate risk and resilience.

Project Outputs

Click here for more information on the product outputs which are now hosted by the UK Climate Resilience programme.

News & Events

Paula Harrison (UKCEH), provides an overview of the UK-SSPs project. Paula was speaking at a seminar led by the University of Leeds Sustainability Research Institute in November 2020.

Our Partners

The project is commissioned by the Met Office and is funded by the UK Climate Resilience Programme. It is carried out by Cambridge Econometrics in collaboration with the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), University of Edinburgh and University of Exeter.