Reviewing organisational use of scenarios: Case study - evaluating UK energy policy options

TitleReviewing organisational use of scenarios: Case study - evaluating UK energy policy options
Publication TypeTyndall Working Paper
SeriesTyndall Centre Working Papers
Tyndall Consortium Institution


Secondary TitleTyndall Centre Working Paper 20
AuthorsTurnpenny, J.
Year of Publication2002

In 2000 the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution recommended that the UK should aim to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050. Part of the government's response to this recommendation was to set up an inter-departmental analysts' group (IAG) to assess how this target might be achieved. In addition, the IAG contributed to a comprehensive review of UK energy policy announced in June 2001, whose broad aim was forming an sustainable and secure energy strategy for the next fifty years. One of the tools the IAG used to visualise the future was scenarios, or pictures of how the world may change in the long-term. This paper reports on the use of scenarios by the IAG during the early part of the Energy Review. This includes a review of the criteria for scenario selection, the types of scenarios used, the interpretation and elaboration process, and the degree of engagement and development of the scenarios. Several recommendations for better use of scenarios in future work are made. These refer principally to the need for consistency in interpretation of the scenarios, transparency in assumptions and more detailed qualitative descriptions of each future world to allow more sophisticated interpretation of how the future may unfold.

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