Extending the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for sub-national impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability studies

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Abstract

The exploration of alternative socioeconomic futures is an important aspect of understanding the potential consequences of climate change. While socioeconomic scenarios are common and, at times essential, tools for the impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and integrated assessment modeling research communities, their approaches to scenario development have historically been quite distinct. However, increasing convergence of impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and integrated assessment modeling research in terms of scales of analysis suggests there may be value in the development of a common framework for socioeconomic scenarios. The Shared Socioeconomic Pathways represents an opportunity for the development of such a common framework. However, the scales at which these global storylines have been developed are largely incommensurate with the sub-national scales at which impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and, increasingly, integrated assessment modeling studies are conducted. The objective of this study was to develop sub-national and sectoral extensions of the global SSP storylines in order to identify future socioeconomic challenges for adaptation for the U.S. Southeast. A set of nested qualitative socioeconomic storyline elements, integrated storylines, and accompanying quantitative indicators were developed through an application of the Factor-Actor-Sector framework. In addition to revealing challenges and opportunities associated with the use of the SSPs as a basis for more refined scenario development, this study generated sub-national storyline elements and storylines that can subsequently be used to explore the implications of alternative sub-national socioeconomic futures for the assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation.

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Absar, S. M., & Preston, B. L. (2015). Extending the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for sub-national impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability studies. Global Environmental Change, 33, 83–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.04.004

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