UK socioeconomic scenarios for climate research and policy

There are key questions relating to the climate resilience of the UK that need future research, such as ‘how does future flood risk change?’ or ‘what impact does climate change have on human health?’.

To address these questions properly, consistent future socioeconomic scenarios for the UK are required to understand potential exposure and vulnerability to risks associated with climate change.  This project will produce internally consistent future socioeconomic scenarios for the UK, as the basis for further climate resilience research.

The final outputs of this project will allow UK-specific research by the climate resilience community that is consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process, including research and analysis for the fourth Climate Change Risk Assessment.

This 18 month project is commissioned by the Met Office (funded by the UK Climate Resilience programme) and is carried out by Cambridge Econometrics in collaboration with the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), University of Edinburgh and University of Exeter.

Key project aims and objectives

The project has various objectives:

  • to identify key socioeconomic indicators needed to address climate resilience issues;
  • to downscale the existing global and European SSPs for the UK by extending them spatially, temporally and sectorally;
  • to develop a modelling framework that captures the interrelationships between different socioeconomic indicators in the scenario narratives;
  • to create internally consistent quantitative projections for the key socioeconomic indicators; and
  • to publicise the new scenarios to the UK climate resilience community

Project outputs

Our approach involves down-scaling and extending the SSPs for the UK, to support more detailed analyses of climate risk and resilience. The research will build upon existing work that has been led by the project team, including developing a set of UK socioeconomic projections to be used within the CCRA3 Evidence Report, led by Cambridge Econometrics, and work on extending the global SSPs, including the EU-funded IMPRESSIONS project and the UK-SCAPE project, both led by UKCEH.

The final project outputs will consist of a set of narratives, semi-quantitative trends, quantifications for specific variables and visualisations of the interrelationships between those variables for a nested set of UK and country-specific SSPs that are consistent with the global/European context. This will allow UK-specific research by the climate resilience community that is consistent with the IPCC process, including research and analysis for the fourth Climate Change Risk Assessment.

Preliminary scenario narratives and semi-quantitative trends will be available at the end of September 2020, while all final project outputs, including causal loop diagrams and quantified socioeconomic projections, will be available for researchers to use at the end of March 2021.

Jennifer Dicks Project Manager jd@camecon.com