Published February 26, 2024 | Version v2
Preprint Open

Participatory downscaling of global SSP-RCP scenarios to local fisheries social-ecological systems

  • 1. MARBEC, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Montpellier, France
  • 2. CY Cergy Paris Université, Cerema, MATRiS, Nantes, France / Laboratoire CHROME, Université de Nîmes, 30021 Nîmes, France / Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, GEOPS, 91405 Orsay, France
  • 3. Puget Sound Institute, University of Washington, Tacoma, Washington, USA


Policy makers and industry managers need projections of the evolution of human societies and natural ecosystems to deal with the consequences of global change. We aimed to provide projections of the consequences of climate change and contrasting socio-economic orientations for the social-ecological systems of the French North Sea and Mediterranean fisheries. Our approach consisted of a local downscaling of global scenarios combining IPCC Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) for the 2100 horizon. To co-construct policy-relevant downscaled scenarios, we engaged with fisheries managers, policy makers, scientific experts, and NGOs. We co-constructed four contrasting scenario storylines by mobilizing their knowledge, visions, and values through interdisciplinary participatory workshops. Our participatory approach ensured strong anchoring in regional, national, and local contexts and provided policy-relevant references to fisheries scenarios. We then conducted the first comparative analysis of SSP-RCP scenario storylines from different local marine social-ecological systems in the same region and country. This comparative analysis highlighted the fact that scenarios downscaled to different local social-ecological systems and stakeholder groups are highly complementary for the same archetypal scenario, while showing striking differences. These differences illustrated the consequences of different decisions, strategies and management rules taken from the global to the local level. We also integrated potential disruptive changes and emotional aspects into the downscaling of each scenario and conducted the first standardized emotion analysis for SSP-RCP scenarios. Overall, these downscaled SSP-RCP scenarios identify certain pathways to avoid and potential actions for transformative change, mitigation, and adaptation to global change at the local scale that could be effective in the current century. Our innovative protocol has allowed us to address some of the main criticisms of the SSP-RCP scenarios by helping to bridge science-policy gaps and to focus more on the human-nature relationships, which is urgently needed to address global change.


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