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Cyber Seminars

The purpose of cyberseminars is to provide a forum for scientists from the social and natural sciences to debate and discuss cutting edge population-environment research topics.

How to participate in (or leave) a cyberseminar

IPCC's New Scenario Process: Shared Socioeconomic Pathways | UNFCCC's New Work Program: Loss & Damage from Climate Change

Background Paper
7-14 October 2013
IPCC's New Scenario Process: Shared Socioeconomic Pathways

Suggested reading: Kriegler, Elmar, Brian C. O’Neill, Stephane Hallegatte, Tom Kram, Robert J. Lempert, Richard H. Moss, Thomas Wilbanks. 2012. The need for and use of socio-economic scenarios for climate change analysis: A new approach based on shared socio-economic pathways. Global Environmental Change, 22(4): 807–822.

Other resources: IPCC Scenario Process for AR5: Parallel Phase: Narratives and Scenarios

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Invited Experts
Leiwen Jiang (co-moderator), Climate Change Research Group, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Lori Hunter, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder
Brian C. O’Neill, Integrated Assessment Modelling Group, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Bryan Jones, Post-doctoral fellow of CUNY-Baruch School of Public Affairs and Visiting Scientist at NCAR
Bas J. van Ruijven, Integrated Assessment Modeling Group, Climate & Global Dynamics Division, NCAR
Marc Levy, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University

PERN is planning to hold a cyberseminar on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) on 7-14 October 2013, with the purpose of stimulating the discussion on this new methodology. Leiwen Jiang of NCAR's Integrated Assessment team in the Climate Change Research Group has kindly accepted to co-moderate this seminar with Susana Adamo of PERN.

In the context of the new integrated scenarios of climate change of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and beyond, the SSPs represent a new generation of socio-economic scenarios able to overcome the mitigation/adaptation divide in research by serving the needs of both communities by combining broad narratives and a limited set of quantitative projections. Five initial narratives (sustainability, middle of the road, fragmentation, inequality, and conventional development), somewhat analogous to and extending the old IPCC SRES scenarios, are used to define a matrix that represents essential and stylized socioeconomic conditions along two axes, “challenges to mitigation” and “challenges to adaptation”, sorted from low to high.

As in the SRES approach, population is considered as one of the determinants, but now the demographic dimension also includes education attainment and urban/rural distribution, in addition to other socio-economic conditions, and the possibility of addressing the different temporal (shorter or near-term, longer or long-term) and spatial (global, regional, local) scales.

Some of the questions to be discussed are:

• Architecture: what are the essential differences between the SRES and the SSPs?

• Scale: How do the SSPs contribute to link and integrate research at the global, regional and local scales?

• Dimensions: What other variables could be realistically added to the SSPs, and what are the data needs?

• Consistency: How do the assumed changes in the demographic and other socioeconomic variables reflect historical experiences of the interactions between them?

• Relevance: How could the population-environment research community make use of, and contribute to, the new SSPs?


How to participate in (or leave) a cyberseminar:

Ornamental Image of a City built right on the beach.PERN Cyberseminars are conducted using a standard email discussion list. There are two main ways to join (or leave) the PERN Cyberseminars discussion list: Via the web-based interface, or Via email commands sent to the listserv software.

1) Via the Web Interface:  The web address for PERN Cyberseminars (PERNSEMINARS) list is http://listserver.ciesin.columbia.edu/. The first step is to create an account on the listserv server. To do this you select the "Get a LISTSERV password for this server" link on the main listserv page, under the "Assistance" category. Using the "Subscriber's Corner" follow the instructions to subscribe and unsubscribe to the list called PERNSEMINARS.

2) Via E-mail:  You can send commands to subscribe and unsubscribe to the listserv@listserver.ciesin.columbia.edu. If you would like to participate in a cyberseminar please send an email message with the body text "SUBscribe PERNSEMINARS". You may leave the list at any time by sending a "SIGNOFF PERNSEMINARS" command.

Once you are subscribed, you may wish to change subscription settings so that you receive a daily digest of postings (all postings attached to one email message) instead of individual postings. To do this you can either use the web interface to change your settings or send a message to the LISTSERV email address (in #2 above) with the text “SET PERNSEMINARS DIGEST”

Contributions sent to this list are automatically archived. You can get a list of the available archive files by sending an "INDEX PERNSEMINARS" command. You may also visit http://listserver.ciesin.columbia.edu/pernseminars.html.

Further commands that can be sent to the LISTSERV email address can be found in this LISTSERV Reference Library (16KB PDF).

Standards of Conduct

All who are interested in cyberseminar topics are invited to participate and subscription is free. Please adhere to the following standards of conduct when participating.

To ensure that the cyberseminar is successful and that we have a lively intellectual discussion, we would like to ask all the participants to be mindful of a few standards of conduct similar to those you might find in a face-to-face meeting. Please remember :

  • Respectful disagreement is fine; impoliteness is not accepted.
  • Opinions are welcome; advocacy is not - this is an intellectual debate, please refrain from using this forum for any advocacy purposes.
  • Respect other's email space: do not repeat something you have already said and limit yourself to a reasonable number of postings.

With these standards in mind, we look forward to your active participation in the seminar.

If you experience technical difficulties, please contact the coordinators.



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PERN is a project of The International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), and the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) on Global Environmental Change.

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CIESIN Columbia University

Technical support for PERN is provided by the NASA-funded Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) of Columbia University.