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

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

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.

Developed in collaboration with the UK’s research community, the final outputs of this 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.

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.

Currently, no UK-specific versions of the global SSPs are publicly available to combine with the RCP-based climate projections. However, this new project aims 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

News & Events

The UK-SSPs project is creating downscaled versions of the global Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) for the UK. In May 2020, the project team ran a successful virtual workshop attended by around 40 members of the climate resilience research, policy and practice community. Workshop participants worked together in several highly interactive sessions to further enrich narratives, create system diagrams of the interrelationships between drivers and develop trends for key drivers for five socioeconomic scenarios (the UK-SSPs). Preliminary outputs of the workshop are available to download here

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.