Ian Holman (United Kingdom) 1; Niki Frantzeskaki (Netherlands) 2; Katharina Hölscher (Netherlands) 2; Simona Pedde (Netherlands) 3; Jill Jäger (Austria) 4; Lamprini Papadimitriou (United Kingdom) 1; Paula Harrison (United Kingdom) 5
1 - Cranfield University; 2 - Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT); 3 - Wageningen University; 4 - Jill Jäger; 5 - Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Adaptation, mitigation and transformation actions are urgently needed to move society towards a sustainable and resilient future. However, quantitative and qualitative assessment methods are individually unable to evaluate their effectiveness in achieving societally-desired outcomes. Our objectives are to:
Develop a robust methodological framework that supports consistent evaluation of the effectiveness of pathways under a broad range of high-end climate and socio-economic scenarios
Evaluate the effectiveness of stakeholder-derived pathways in achieving co-created normative Visions for 2100 in case studies at sub-national to continental scales;
Assess the relative importance of high-end climate change and socio-economic scenario characteristics in constraining society’s ability to meet their Vision.
The methodological framework for evaluating the pathways’ responses conceptually considers effectiveness to be a function of the implied effort (as given by the diversity of actions and actors), the coherency of the actions with the logic of the socio-economic scenario and the availability of capitals to support implementation. The methodological framework was applied, using a twin-track approach of regional integrated assessment models and expert judgement, to assess the effectiveness of high-end RCPxSSP scenario-specific pathways in moving towards the Vision through either (1) the changes of magnitude of actions that could be modelled or (2) expert assessment taking governance capacities in the scenarios into account. Finally, a comparative analysis across scenarios and scales assessed the relative importance of climate and socio-economic scenarios in enabling or constraining whether the Vision could be achieved.
The twin-track approach was successfully applied at municipal (Hungary), river basin (Iberia), national (Scotland) and European scales. The benefits of the scenario-specific pathways vary between Vision indicators, with the pathways’ efficacy in improving Vision indicators depending on systemic constraints and opportunities within the scenarios. No case studies entirely reach their Vision. Cross-scale and cross-scenario analysis demonstrates that: high-end climate change (particularly under RCP8.5) produces significant unavoidable residual impacts and trade-offs between achieving different Vision objectives; scenarios of fragmentation / regional rivalry (SSP3) or inequality (SSP4) constrain the effectiveness of responses due to human and/or social capital constraints; fossil-fueled development scenarios (SSP5) constrain the effectiveness of responses due to energy and lifestyle lock-ins; sustainability scenarios (SSP1) enable the closest achievement of the Visions. The significant residual impacts of high-end climate change, systemic time lags and/or recalcitrant characteristics of the socio-economic scenarios underscore the need for urgent and immediate action to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement and prepare Europe for an uncertain future.