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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

UKCIP Socio-Economic Scenarios

The UKCIP socio-economic scenarios (SES) describe how society may change in the future in accordance with policy decisions made in the future. The SES should be used together with climate change emission scenarios to produce an integrated assessment of potential impacts under climate change.

Appropriate Use The SES can be used in climate change impacts and vulnerability and assessments, and to consider the capacity different types of future worlds will have to cope with climate change.
Scope They should be used for UK-based studies only.
Key Output A description of future worlds in which climate changes might occur.
Key Input Various social and economic indices
Ease of Use Users generally find these difficult to apply as they are not quantitative, and those used to assessing physical climate impacts may not feel comfortable dealing with socio-economic issues. Where the SES have been used, they have been found to have a major impact on study findings.
Training Required Understanding of SES and their application is helpful.
Training Available No formal training supplied, but UKCIP can advise on application.
Computer Requirements None
Documentation Technical report on SES

The SES have been used in a number of UKCIP scoping studies. Some of them are included in the report (reference below). Also see the UKCIP website ( for further information on applications.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Megan Gawith

Scientific Officer, UKCIP; e-mail:

Cost None

UK Climate Impacts Programme. 2001. Socio-economic scenarios for climate change impact assessment: a guide to their use in the UK Climate Impacts Programme. UKCIP, Oxford.