Identifying Possibilities Using Long-Term Energy Scenarios
Chapter 6: Summary and policy implications
Can energy–economy–environment (E3) scenarios that reach 100 years into the future be policy-relevant? And, if so, what kind of guidance can they provide to today’s policy making? In general, it should be clear that the policy relevance of long-term scenarios has to be diﬀerent from that of nearterm outlooks, the diﬀerence coming from diﬀerent objectives. Typical nearterm objectives with respect to the E3 system are, for instance, economic viability and immediate environmental impact of given project alternatives. In contrast, examples of long-term objectives would be economic, social and environmental sustainability, the latter including climate protection. From this diﬀerence it follows that policy relevance of near-term outlooks tends to be concrete – for instance, in assessing payback times and the environmental impact of alternative project variants – whereas the policy relevance of long-term scenarios is more strategic. To emphasize this aspect, we have, in some places, used the term ‘strategy’ to refer to a scenario. In the E3 system, and in other ﬁelds too, strategies aim at achieving a deﬁnite favourable outcome, which, in our case, is the sustainable development of the global energy–economy–environment system. The timing of strategic policies is a delicate issue. Although the target of sustainable development may be far away, this does not mean that there is much time to wait. We have used the term ‘slow variables’ to refer to the driving forces that are central to the understanding of the long-term developments analysed in this book. The term...
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