Socio-Economic Data and Scenarios
Welcome to the Socio-economic section of the Data Distribution Centre (DDC) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These pages of the DDC provide access to baseline and scenario data related to population, economic development, technology and natural resources for use in climate impact assessments. This information, along with environmental data and scenarios also held by the DDC, is important for characterizing the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of social and economic systems in relation to climate change in different regions. For many exposed systems, the impacts of climate change could be strongly moderated by future socio-economic and technological developments, so these need to be taken into account in any assessment.
Why do we need socio-economic scenarios?
The main purposes of socio-economic scenarios in the assessment of climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability are:
Though greater emphasis in these guidelines is placed on the second objective, the DDC socio-economic pages provide information supporting both, recognising that the scenarios underpinning impact and adaptation studies should also be consistent with those assumed for emissions and hence for climate and for other environmental scenarios. Many key parameters such as population and economic growth are common to both types of exercise.
The major underlying cause of rapid changes in atmospheric composition is human economic activity, in particular emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and changing land cover and land use. Socio-economic scenarios that project the major driving factors of change are important for several reasons:
The IPCC Data Distribution Centre holds socio-economic information describing the present-day situation and information relating to two sets of emissions scenarios: the IS92 scenarios, prepared for the IPCC Second Assessment Report, and the SRES scenarios (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios - Nakicenovic et al., 2000) prepared for the Third Assessment Report. These have a projection period out to 2100 (see below).
Socio-economic baseline statistics on the DDC
The IPCC has published a set of baseline statistics for 195 countries that are representative of the early to mid 1990s. The data were collated from a variety of sources, such as the World Bank, UNEP and FAO, and they comprise a range of factors organised into seven categories (IPCC, 1998):
These tabulated data are also available from the Data Distribution Centre. Clearly these are only selected, summary data and individual impact studies are likely to require information on other factors or at a higher spatial resolution. The original sources of the IPCC dataset may be able to provide additional country-level information. Otherwise, national or regional sources of data will need to be accessed.
Current holdings are:
Content last modified:24 June 2013