Deconstructing demographic futures: population dynamics in the Shared-Socioeconomic Pathways

Organizers: Deborah Balk (CUNY), Cristina Bradatan (Texas Tech University), Susana Adamo (CIESIN), Landy Sanchez (El Colegio de Mexico)


Population dynamics have been coarsely represented in climate change scenarios. Even with the development of Shared-Socioeconomic Pathways, the discussion of demographic futures remains limited. Nevertheless, it is expected that demographic phenomena are important.  They may positively or negatively influence mitigation and adaptation; and their influences may be complex, non-linear and work through a variety of causal pathways.  For example, below-replacement fertility, in time, will lead to a smaller populations which, in turn, will positively affect mitigation. Yet concomitantly, low-fertility populations may age faster, posing increasing challenges for adaptation (due to low GDP growth or low population mobility) as well as for mitigation, as older population tend to have a lower ratio of people living in the same household. Similarly, while recognizing their importance in the SSPs, understanding and modelling the roles of urbanization and migration in mitigation and adaptation are far from straightforward.  

This session welcomes papers addressing demographic futures narratives and modeling exercises that develop or apply demographic projections to climate and global change issues. Those papers paying attention to population composition, the spatial aspects of population change, and demographic components of inequality would be preferred. Local, regional and global perspectives are welcome. Papers using new data sources, methods or frameworks are especially welcomed. An adequate depiction of demographic change and its influences on mitigation and adaptation will enhance the use of SSP for climate change impact research and policy.