11 March 2019 - 13 March 2019
Denver, Colorado, USA

Scenarios for climate and societal futures

IIASA scientists will present research and policy analyses related to climate change and sustainability at the Scenarios Forum 2019 at the University of Denver.

© Photoquest | Dreamstime

© Photoquest | Dreamstime

The goal of the Scenarios Forum is to bring together a diverse set of communities who are using or developing scenarios for use in climate change and sustainability analysis to exchange experiences, ideas, and lessons learned; to identify opportunities for synergies and collaboration; and to identify knowledge gaps for future research.

By taking stock of progress and facilitating further scenario-related research, this meeting will inform the use of scenarios in the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It will also help ensure a research base sufficient to inform future national and international assessments as well as policy initiatives, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

IIASA has a longstanding history in developing and using scenarios for climate change and sustainability. The institute played a central role in the development of the Scenarios Framework and co-coordinated the quantification of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). IIASA hosts the community databases for the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) in collaboration with the Integrated Assessment Modelling Consortium. About 20 IIASA researchers will contribute to the Forum by organizing sessions and presenting recent studies

IIASA participation: 

Sunday 10 March 2019:

14:30 - 16:00 Pre-conference tutorial on the scenario framework:

Using the SSPs for research, assessment, and decision-making

Monday  11 March 2019 

Parallel Sessions 1:

Improving the SSPs to assess the Sustainable Development Goals - Part 1

Co-organized by Keywan Riahi, ENE

  • 13:45-14:00 Transformative Pathways towards sustainable and resilient societies in 2030 and beyond – Experiences of The World in 2050 (TWI2050): Presentation by Caroline Zimm, Transitions To New Technologies Program 
  • 14:15-14:30 Implications of the Paris Agreement for achieving the Sunstainable Development Goals under different socio-economic development futures: Presentation by Keywan Riahi.

Deconstructing demographic futures: population dynamics in the Shared-Socioeconomic Pathways

  • 14:15-14:30 Spatial projections of age structured population in the US: Presentation by Erich Striessnig, IIASA World Population Program (POP) 

New nitrogen scenarios using the SSPs

Co-organized by Wilfried Winiwarter, IIASA Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases Program (AIR)

  • 13:45 Developing Nitrogen scenarios: integrating stakeholder views: Presentation by Wilfried Winiwarter

Scientific assessment of scenario-based research

  • 14:15-14:30 Validation of models used for scenario generation: Presentation by Sibel Eker, IIASA postdoc Applied Systems Analysis (ASA), Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM), and Water (WAT) programs

Parallel Sessions 2:

Improving the SSPs to assess the Sustainable Development Goals - Part 2

Co-organized by Keywan Riahi,

  • 16:40-17:00 Phasing out Solid Biomass Cooking in the Global South: Exploring the Pace and Impacts under the SSPs: Presentation by Shonali Pachauri, ENE

Overshoot scenarios for Paris Agreement temperature targets: an interdisciplinary perspective 

Co-organized by and Michael Obersteiner, ESM and Johannes Bednar, ESM 

  • 16:30-16:45 Path-dependent reductions in CO2 emission budgets caused by permafrost carbon release: Presentation by Thomas Gasser, ESM
  • 17:15-17:20 Environmental, social and financial risk implications of late century CDR deployment and alternative pathways: Presentation by Michael Obersteiner

Use of scenarios for assessing climate-related financial risk and opportunity 

  • 17:15-17:25 Energy investment needs for fulfilling the Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Presentation by Bas van Ruijven, ENE

Tuesday 12 March 2019 

Parallel Sessions 3:

Extending the SSPs across space and time: Multi-scale scenario development practices 

  • 12:15-12:30 Bridging the gap across scales in scenario planning: Co-designing water-energy-land visions and pathways in transboundary basins facing global challenges: Presentation by Barbara Willaarts, WAT

Scenarios for climate extremes and their socio-economic impact

Co-organized by Reinhard Mechler, IIASA Risk and Resilience Program (RISK)

  • 12:05-12:20 Understanding disaster event causation to shape future risk: how can disaster forensics inform climate risk scenarios? Presentation by Reinhard Mechler

Urban futures under the new scenario framework 

  • 12:20-12:35 Future urban vulnerability to heat stress under the SSP scenarios: Presentation by Alessio Mastrucci, IIASA Energy Program (ENE)

Parallel Sessions 4:

Cost of climate change impact and the use of scenarios

  • 14:30-14:45 What level of public investments in irrigation is needed to make the SDGs achievable?: Presentation by Amanda Palazzo, (ESM)

Use of scenarios in IPCC’s 6th assessment cycle (AR6) 

  • 14:30-14:42 Role of scenarios for main findings in the Special Report on 1.5 C: Presentation by Joeri Rogelj, ENE

Inequality and poverty, projections and distributional consequences for climate

  • 14:30-14:50 improving poverty and inequality modelling in climate research: presentation by Bas van Ruijven

Parallel Sessions 5:

Use of the SSP-RCP scenario framework in climate impact analysis, including avoided impacts 

  • 17:20-17:35 Using climate indicators and scenario uncertainties to target climate hotspot risk reduction: Presentation by Keywan Riahi

Sub-national scenarios for integrated modeling and analyses 

  • 17:50-18:03  Finding integrated SDG pathways for the Indus River Basin: Presentation by Simon Parkinson, ENE

Parallel Sessions 6:

Wednesday 13 March 2019.

Scenarios for assessing human vulnerability to extreme events and climate change at the local and regional level 

  • 10:05-10:18 Forecasting societies’ adaptive capacities through a demographic metabolism model: Presentation by Raya Muttarak, POP 

The role of short-lived climate forcers in future scenarios 

  • 10:00-10:15 Future development of Short-Lived Climate Forcers (SLCFs) and mitigation options: Presentation by Zbigniew Klimont,  AIR

Extending the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability research 

  • 10:00-10:15 Spatial distributions of urban and rural poverty and inequality under the SSPs: Presentation by Matthew Gidden, ENE 

Scenarios for tracking progress in international climate policy

Organized by Joeri Rogelj 

Forum on Scenarios for Climate and Societal Futures

The Forum on Scenarios for Climate and Societal Futures fills the critical need for researchers from various communities to come together to share their experiences, progress, and plans. The Forum provides a key means of promoting integration across the climate modeling, integrated assessment, and impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability communities, as well as with additional research communities in the social, natural, and sustainability sciences. The Forum also aims to improve linkages among the research, assessment, and policy communities.

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Last edited: 21 February 2019


Bas van Ruijven

Senior Research Scholar


T +43(0) 2236 807 288


Raya Muttarak

Research Scholar

World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 329

Forum on Scenarios for Climate and Societal Futures

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313