PEER locations
SYKE - Finnish Environment Institute (Finland)DCE - Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, Aarhus University (Denmark)EC JRC - European Commission, Joint Research CentreIRSTEA - National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (France)CEH - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (United Kingdom)Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra)UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany)CIENS - Oslo Centre for Interdisciplinary Environmental and Social Researchpeer

Course No. 7: Environmental Scenario Analysis

16 to 22 April 2009, Roskilde (Denmark)


Environmental scenario analysis has become a commonly used approach employed to support forward-looking studies and interdisciplinary environmental research. Scenario exercises have proven to be particularly useful to assess the prospects of future developments within complex and uncertain systems. Scenario analysis offers a framework for bringing together insights from a range of disciplines to study the complex interactions between socio-economic and environmental developments. An important function of scenario analysis is that it provides an approach to reflect on and think through the possible implications of alternative decision pathways in a structured manner, bringing to bear expert knowledge and stakeholder perspectives.

Meanwhile, scenario exercises have become one of the key tools for bridging environmental science and policy. Most recent international assessments have conducted high-profile scenario exercises to combine the latest understanding of environmental research with society’s concerns about environmental changes – for example regarding Climate Change (by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the future of ecosystem services (by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) or the interplay between development and environment (by the United Nations Environment Programme). Also at national and regional scale a host of environmental scenarios have been developed and analysed, and many current interdisciplinary research projects include make use of scenario analysis.

Despite the wide-spread use of scenario-based approaches, the underlying principles, the theory and practice of environmental scenario analysis are often not well understood. Often scenario exercises are carried out in a somewhat ‘ad hoc’ manner, thus undermining the method’s full potential and usefulness. This course is geared towards familiarising participants with key concepts and methods used in environmental scenario analysis, outlining the main steps in carrying out a scenario exercise, guiding through the challenges of developing and analysing sets of scenarios, introducing a range of past scenario exercises on different topics and different regions, and reflecting on the use of environmental scenario analysis in a decision/making context.

Course Material

Below you can find the presentations (pdf-files) given at the METIER Training Course "Environmental Scenario Analysis" (Roskilde, 16-22 April 2009).

What are scenarios?
   Introduction (Henrichs)
   Scenarios and environmental assessments I (Swart)
   Scenarios and environmental assessments IIa (Swart)
   Scenarios and environmental assessments IIb (Swart)

How to develop scenarios?
   Introduction (Henrichs)

How to analyze scenarios?
   Introduction (Henrichs)
   Qualitative and quantitative approaches (Eickhout)
   Characterizing future climate (Carter)

How to set-up a scenario exercise?
   Introduction (Henrichs)
   Multi-scale participatory model development I (Kok)
   Multi-scale participatory model development II (Kok)
   Multi-scale participatory scenario development III (Kok)

How to use and communicate a scenario?
   Introduction (Henrichs)
   Characterizing future climate (Carter)

The Course Book
   Course Book

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