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Socio-economic scenarios are various models that represent various assumed developments in key socio-economic drivers. These scenarios are used to characterize the social and economic forces driving climate change, in addition to project the vulnerability and/or adaptive-capacity of socio-economic systems to the impacts of climate change. Employing socio-economic scenarios for adaptation planning can increase understanding of the factors that drive climate change and how they relate to each other, provide important information to calculate the current, as well as project the future, societal footprint (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions) in regards to climate change, and help outline how vulnerable society is to climate change impacts.
The scenarios help identify priority areas for interventions, and, coupled with hydrological and climate assessments, provide greater detail to risk assessments and quantification, in addition to climate impacts and possible adaptation responses.