There is widespread acceptance that the climate is changing. Although the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognized that increases in global temperatures should be kept below 2°C to avoid severe impacts, current emission trends suggest that limiting warming to the 2°C target will be difficult. Indeed, without significant reductions in emissions, projections point to much more substantial warming.


Despite the increasing plausibility of these high-end scenarios, there are few studies that assess the potential climate change impacts they entail, the ability of adaptation options to reduce vulnerabilities, and the potential synergies and trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation. Thus, it is vital that decision-makers have access to reliable scientific information on these highly uncertain futures to inform adaptation planning.


  • develop a novel stakeholder-driven methodology for the creation of an integrated set of high-end climate and socio-economic scenarios;
  • apply these scenarios to a wide range of existing and new spatially explicit models of impacts and adaptation in five case studies covering global, European and regional/local (Scotland, Iberia and Hungary) scales;
  • embed the impacts modelling work within an integrated assessment approach which advances the analysis of multi-scale and cross-sectoral synergies and trade-offs;
  • evaluate the time- and path-dependency of adaptation and mitigation options taking account of the non-linearity, complexity and tipping points described in the scenarios and impact model results;
  • work with public and private decision-makers to better understand their knowledge needs and maximize their active participation in the research;
  • communicate the results to a broad community of stakeholders to enhance current approaches to climate change policies and actions.

SEI will co-lead work package 1, on “innovative and effective decision-making under uncertainty”, which entails the development of a Common Frame of Reference that builds on theoretical and empirical insights to guide decision-making processes in the context of existing decision conflicts and other (non-climate) long-term trends and risks. SEI will also contribute to several other tasks, including leading a global case study on the indirect effects of climate change for Europe and “stress-testing” existing policies under the high-end scenarios.