Author(s): Carlsen, H., Klein, R.J.T. and Wikman Svahn, P.

Year: 2017

DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3379

Type: Journal article



Link to SEI authors:

Transparent scenario development

Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos Pictures /DFID. Via Flickr Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos Pictures /DFID. Via Flickr

In this correspondence in Nature Climate Change, the authors respond to a previous article which argues that scenario builders need to anticipate the political impacts of the scenarios they develop.

The authors suggest instead that scenario builders should strive for more neutrality, and that methodological advances in the futures studies community in the past decade can help acheive this. These advances include cross-impact balance, scenario diversity analysis, scenario discovery, and in addition, attention to emerging approaches to solution-oriented global environmental assessments.

The authors argue that these new methods and approaches could help scenario builders to be more scientific and neutral in at least three ways.

First, they could help to make scenario-based assessments more systematic by providing well-defined step-by-step procedures for the construction, evaluation and selection of scenarios.

Second, they create greater transparency by allowing people not involved in scenario development to understand and assess both the process and the products, that is, the scenarios.

Third, they help to recognize uncertainties and encourage systematic exploration of the intuitive logics model, which is the typical approach use to develop scenarios in the climate change research community.

The authors close by proposing that if the IPCC is to continue to aim to be policy-relevant without being policy-prescriptive, there is a need for it to rely on methods that enable more transparent processes of scenario development and more systematic exploration of uncertainties. 

Read the article (external link)