Climatic Change

, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 509–522 | Cite as

Building SSPs for climate policy analysis: a scenario elicitation methodology to map the space of possible future challenges to mitigation and adaptation

  • Julie RozenbergEmail author
  • Céline Guivarch
  • Robert Lempert
  • Stéphane Hallegatte


The scientific community is now developing a new set of scenarios, referred to as Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) that will be contrasted along two axes: challenges to mitigation, and challenges to adaptation. This paper proposes a methodology to develop SSPs with a “backwards” approach based on (i) an a priori identification of potential drivers of mitigation and adaptation challenges; (ii) a modelling exercise to transform these drivers into a large set of scenarios; (iii) an a posteriori selection of a few SSPs among these scenarios using statistical cluster-finding algorithms. This backwards approach could help inform the development of SSPs to ensure the storylines focus on the driving forces most relevant to distinguishing between the SSPs. In this illustrative analysis, we find that energy sobriety, equity and convergence prove most important towards explaining future difference in challenges to adaptation and mitigation. The results also demonstrate the difficulty in finding explanatory drivers for a middle scenario (SSP2). We argue that methodologies such as that used here are useful for broad questions such as the definition of SSPs, and could also be applied to any specific decisions faced by decision-makers in the field of climate change.


Climate Policy Energy Price Mitigation Policy SRES Scenario Climate Change Vulnerability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to thank Patrice Dumas and three anonymous referees for their useful comments on a previous version of this article. All remaining errors are the authors’. The views expressed in this paper are the sole responsibility of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Bank, its executive directors, or the countries they represent.

Supplementary material

10584_2013_904_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1315 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Rozenberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Céline Guivarch
    • 1
  • Robert Lempert
    • 2
  • Stéphane Hallegatte
    • 3
  1. 1.CIREDNogent-sur-MarneFrance
  2. 2.RANDSanta MonicaUSA
  3. 3.World BankWashington DCUSA

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