Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs)

Through its integrated assessment work, the Energy (ENE) Program has played a central role in shaping community-wide climate research activities, including the so-called Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs).

Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs)

Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs)

The Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) are part of the new framework adopted by the climate change research community to facilitate the integrated analysis of future climate impacts, vulnerabilities, adaptation, and mitigation.

In 2013 the Energy (ENE) Program collaborated with the Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program to contribute to the SSP process. Collaboration included coordination of the scenario development activities and provision of critical scientific input as one of the five IAM groups involved in the development of the SSP scenarios.

The conceptual framework of the SSPs was successfully completed in 2013 and published in a Special Issue in the journal Climatic Change, with Nebojsa Nakicenovic as co-editor and Keywan Riahi co-authoring a total of five papers on different aspects of the SSPs. [1] 

In addition, a second SSP special issue in the journal Global Environmental Change is in preparation with Keywan Riahi as co-editor. This will summarize the quantitative scenario projections and storylines of the SSPs.

The development of the SSPs has led to important methodological improvements and extensions of the present IIASA-ENE modeling tools, including the endogenous representation of land-use change with ESM. These will be critical for future research activities, such as the application of ENE tools in adaptation, vulnerability, and impacts studies, including the exploration of water and food security issues.

ENE is hosting the SSP scenarios database with results from all international partners (Figure 1).

Figure 1: IIASA-SSP database ( Scenario databases form an integral part of ENE’s community services. In sum 10 databases from international modeling comparison projects with 1500 unique users each month were managed by ENE in 2013.


[1] Nakicenovic N, Lempert R, Janetos A, eds (2013). Special Issue of Climatic Change on the framework for the development of new socioeconomics scenarios for climate change research, Climatic Change, doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0982-2.

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Last edited: 22 May 2014


Keywan Riahi

Program Director


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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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