Developing shared socioeconomic pathway (SSP) narrative extensions for climate change research in Finland’s agriculture and health sectors

16:15 Tuesday 28 May

SS019 • OC109

Room S13


Timothy Carter (Finland) 1; Heikki Lehtonen (Finland) 2; Reija Ruuhela (Finland) 3; Stefan Fronzek (Finland) 1; Susanna Kankaanpää (Finland) 4; Emma Terämä (Finland) 1

1 - Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE); 2 - Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Helsinki; 3 - Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki; 4 - City of Helsinki, Urban Environment Division, Environmental Services

We report the results of a participatory process for co-producing socioeconomic narrative scenarios for Finland based on the global shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs). These are intended for application in climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability analysis alongside climate change projections based on the global representative concentration pathways (RCPs). Narrative scenarios can be useful in climate change research, inter alia, for:

  • exploring alternative socioeconomic futures for key variables
  • providing input assumptions for impact models
  • offering future context for adaptation and mitigation decisions
  • forming a basis for developing quantified indicators (e.g. of social vulnerability)
  • complementing projections of future climate

National SSP narratives for Finland are being developed as a pilot study for two sectors – agriculture and human health – which have been the focus of the PLUMES (Pathways Linking Uncertainties in Model projections of climate and its EffectS) project (2014-2019), funded by the Academy of Finland. The project has also developed RCP-based national climate change projections (Ruosteenoja et al. 2016), which are available for pairing with appropriate SSPs. Drawing on the valuable insights gained from a rich set of scenario studies and experiences in other recent European and national projects, we have organised two one-day participatory workshops of about 40 participants in which sectoral stakeholders from the public and private sectors operating at a range of governance and geographical scales have worked alongside researchers to discuss and interpret SSPs.

Moderated discussion groups sought to interpret each SSP according to key sectoral themes and from the perspective of different interests. For example, the discussions on agriculture in May 2018 focused on five aspects: diet, food industry, farming, technology and the environment. These were treated from the perspectives of producers, consumers and policy making. Comparable sector-relevant themes and perspectives are planned for a workshop on human health in early 2019. We will present the preliminary results and key messages emerging from these discussions as well as some of the challenges encountered in communicating the global SSPs and in interpreting their implications and relevance for Finland.

Reference: Ruosteenoja K, et al. (2016) Climate projections for Finland under the RCP forcing scenarios.