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Publication Date
1 January 2017

The SSP4: A World of Deepening Inequality



Five new scenarios, or Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), have been developed, spanning a range of challenges to mitigation and challenges to adaptation. The Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 4 (SSP4), “ Inequality ” or “ A Road Divided, ” is one of these scenarios, characterized by low challenges to mitigation and high challenges to adaptation. We describe, in quantitative terms, the SSP4 as implemented by the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), the marker model for this scenario. We use demographic and economic assumptions, in combination with technology and non-climate policy assumptions to develop a quantitative representation of energy, land-use and land-cover, and emissions consistent with the SSP4 narrative. The scenario is one with stark differences within and across regions. High-income regions prosper, continuing to increase their demand for energy and food. Electrification increases in these regions, with the increased generation being met by nuclear and renewables. Low-income regions, however, stagnate due to limited economic growth. Growth in total consumption is dominated by increases in population, not increases in per capita consumption. Due to failures in energy access policies, these regions continue to depend on traditional biofuels, leading to high pollutant emissions. Declining dependence on fossil fuels in all regions means that total radiative forcing absent the inclusion of mitigation or impacts only reaches 6.4 W m 2 in 2100, making this a world with relatively low challenges to mitigation. We explore the effects of mitigation effort on the SSP4 world, finding that the imposition of a carbon price has a varied effect across regions. In particular, the SSP4 mitigation scenarios are characterized by afforestation in the high-income regions and deforestation in the low-income regions. Furthermore, we find that the SSP4 is a world with low challenges to mitigation, but only to a point due to incomplete mitigation of land-related emissions.

“The Ssp4: A World Of Deepening Inequality”. 2017. Global Environmental Change 42: 284-296. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.06.010.
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