Achieving a Sustainable Global Energy System
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Achieving a Sustainable Global Energy System

Identifying Possibilities Using Long-Term Energy Scenarios

Leo Schrattenholzer, Asami Miketa, Keywan Riahi and Richard Alexander Roehrl

Sustainable development and global climate change have figured prominently in scientific analysis and international policymaking since the early 1990s. This book formulates technology strategies that will lead to environmentally sustainable energy systems, based on an analysis of global climate change issues using the concept of sustainable development. The authors focus on environmentally compatible, long-term technology developments within the global energy system, while also considering aspects of economic and social sustainability.
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Chapter 2: Methodology

Leo Schrattenholzer, Asami Miketa, Keywan Riahi and Richard Alexander Roehrl


This chapter presents the motivation for choosing the particular methods used in our study. After this, we describe, in aggregate terms, how the IIASA-ECS scenarios were built. The description of the scenario building includes an overview of the development of the global E3 (energy– economy–environment) system in the course of the 20th century. We then proceed to give, in non-technical language, a macroscopic description of models and concepts used for the scenario formulation. Together with the models we also describe, in general terms, how the so-called ‘driving forces’ define scenarios. This way, we give readers an idea of the respective importance of the variables that shape scenarios and, at the same time, an approximate idea about the sensitivity of the results. 2.1 WHY SCENARIO ANALYSIS? Why do we use scenarios to address the uncertainty surrounding the future development of the global E3 system? And why do we not use stochastic optimization, for instance? Before attempting to answer these questions, we want to define the term ‘scenario’. For the purposes of this book, we want a scenario to be understood as an internally consistent and reproducible image of the future. Scenarios are therefore neither predictions nor forecasts. The most important difference between forecasts and scenarios is that scenarios do not necessarily aspire to maximize the likelihood of their occurrence. One prominent kind of scenarios that many would argue are not the most likely to materialize is the class of sustainabledevelopment scenarios. Their main purpose is to specify...

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