Socio-economic scenarios for improved decision making in the changing Arctic

Lead Author Riina, Haavisto
Institution Contact Finnish Meteorological Institute P.O. BOX 503 FI-00101 HELSINKI FINLAND
Co-Authors Karoliina Pilli-Sihvola, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland Atte Harjanne, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland Adriaan Perrels, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland
Theme Theme 1: Vulnerability of Arctic Environments
Session Name 1.1 Climate Change and Environmental Management in the Arctic
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 04:20 PM - 04:40 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text The future of the Eurasian Arctic is shaped by several drivers, with all of them affected by uncertainty, and some of them by deep, unquantified uncertainty. To anticipate the future changes, to increase the understanding of key uncertainties under different sources of uncertainty and to obtain an understanding of the possible near-term development and adaptation needs, our study has developed a set of generic socio-economic scenarios up to 2040 for the Eurasian Arctic. The scenarios were based on existing climate and socio-economic scenarios, and an international expert workshop conducted via participatory futures methods, and held in 2015 in Helsinki, Finland.

Our analysis shows that plenty of potential pressures for major changes in the Eurasian Arctic exist. The scenario futures, called Wild West, Silicon Valley, Exploited Colony, Shangri La, Conflict Zone and Antarctic, describe the scale and scope of activities in the Eurasian Arctic by 2040. The scenarios have three dimensions: open – closed, public - private and dirty – clean, which describe the political, economic, social, technological and environmental aspects of different futures.

On the one hand, different futures with drastic new developments in the region may unfold; on the other hand, it is possible that despite all the hype and interest, the Eurasian Arctic may remain a backwater in the global economy. Therefore, decision makers should look into robust measures, have a good eye for weak signals and tipping points, and have the ability to prepare for risks and seize opportunities as they emerge in the area. Further analysis will assess the benefits of Weather and Marine Services in different futures with various methodologies.
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