SEI Contact:

Henrik Carlsen

Mobile: +46 70 267 7410

Time-frame: 2013–2018

Project status: Active


This project aims to advance understanding of the consequences of high-end climate change and to evaluate how such knowledge can be embedded within effective and integrated adaptation and mitigation decision-making processes.

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.

IMPRESSIONS-logoDespite 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.

Visit the IMPRESSIONS project website »