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What-If Scenarios


Scenarios are an essential tool in catalysing a variety of possible futures into an organised overview of likely pathways.

Scenarios can help guide strategy and are created in sets of plausible and coherent alternatives. They can help define the scope for adaptation by characterising the responses of various stakeholder groups (policymakers, conservationists, business owners, and the general public) under each future scenario. Scenarios may be predictive, normative or exploratory. 

We use what-if scenarios to explore the cumulative impact ofmultiple drivers on marine biodiversity and ecosystem services

ACTNOW uses What-If scenarios to explore how multiple drivers impacting marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services may change in the future. The ACTNOW Glossy Card introduces the overarching narratives of four scenarios of change based on the SSP and RCP framework used in the Sixth IPCC Assessment Report. 

In a next step, ACTNOW will regionalise these What-if Scenarios in cooperation with regional and local stakeholders in order to better understand the real-life contexts and needs across European seas.

ACTNOW What-If Scenarios 

World Markets (SSP5)


High challenges to mitigation, low challenges to adaptation

The world places increasing faith in competitive markets, innovation and participatory societies to produce rapid technological progress and development of human capital as the path to sustainable development. Global markets are increasingly integrated. 

Sustainability (SSP1)

Low challenges to mitigation and adaptation


The world shifts toward a more sustainable path, emphasising more inclusive development that respects perceived environmental boundaries. Management of the global commons slowly improves, educational and health investments accelerate the demographic transition, and the emphasis on economic growth shifts toward broader aspects of human well-being. 

Regional Rivalry (SSP3)

High challenges to mitigation and adaptation


A resurgent nationalism, concerns about competitiveness and security, and regional conflicts push countries to increasingly focus on domestic or, at most, regional issues. Policies shift over time to become increasingly oriented towardnational and regional security issues. 

Inequality (SSP4)

Low challenges to mitigation, high challenges to adaptation


Highly unequal investments in human capital, increasing disparities in economic opportunity and political power, and increasing social inequality and stratification. The gap widens between an internationally-connected society that contributes to knowledge- and capital-intensive sectors of the global economy, and a fragmented collection of lower-income, poorly educated societies that work in a labour intensive, low-tech economy. 

For more information, please download the Glossy Card!

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