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Do energy scenarios pay sufficient attention to the environment? Lessons from the UK to support improved policy outcomes

Do energy scenarios pay sufficient attention to the environment? Lessons from the UK to support improved policy outcomes
Do energy scenarios pay sufficient attention to the environment? Lessons from the UK to support improved policy outcomes
Scenario development is widely used to support the formation of energy policy, but many energy scenarios consider environmental interactions only in terms of climate change. We suggest that efforts to develop more holistic energy pathways, going beyond post hoc analysis of environmental and social implications, can usefully draw on environmental scenarios. A detailed content analysis of UK energy and environmental scenarios was therefore undertaken, with energy scenarios selected on the basis that they were recent, had a direct link to energy policy, and covered a range of scenario types. The energy scenarios rarely considered societal drivers beyond decarbonisation and focused on quantifiable parameters such as GDP, while the environmental scenarios provided a richer narrative on human behaviour and social change. As socio-economic issues remain fundamental to the success of energy policies, this is a key area which should be better addressed within energy scenarios. The environmental impacts of energy scenarios were rarely considered, but could have a significant bearing on the likelihood of pathway outcomes being realised. Fuller evaluation of the environmental interactions of energy systems is therefore required. Although the analysis focuses on the UK, some international scenarios show similar limitations, suggesting that the conclusions are more widely applicable.
0301-4215
397-408
Hooper, Tara
2a5ea0a0-bf76-4e6f-87bb-9d54624121fd
Austen, Melanie C.
7b4d1ef7-d035-419b-aaf9-dae1cb1c8df2
Beaumont, Nicola
400c6ec0-cd53-4bd1-afed-eae5afe85257
Heptonstall, Philip
e96b671a-a9b9-4cff-b638-0576e120eada
Holland, Robert A.
9c245e65-06bb-4b0e-8214-2b00ad2a47df
Ketsopoulou, Ioanna
467ec712-794f-4e73-97e3-59c0d378d420
Taylor, Gail
f3851db9-d37c-4c36-8663-e5c2cb03e171
Watson, Jim
b2ca3ac7-c819-441b-8e1b-06539c83eead
Winskel, Mark
28179436-6074-44fc-a783-52388b6dfee3
Hooper, Tara
2a5ea0a0-bf76-4e6f-87bb-9d54624121fd
Austen, Melanie C.
7b4d1ef7-d035-419b-aaf9-dae1cb1c8df2
Beaumont, Nicola
400c6ec0-cd53-4bd1-afed-eae5afe85257
Heptonstall, Philip
e96b671a-a9b9-4cff-b638-0576e120eada
Holland, Robert A.
9c245e65-06bb-4b0e-8214-2b00ad2a47df
Ketsopoulou, Ioanna
467ec712-794f-4e73-97e3-59c0d378d420
Taylor, Gail
f3851db9-d37c-4c36-8663-e5c2cb03e171
Watson, Jim
b2ca3ac7-c819-441b-8e1b-06539c83eead
Winskel, Mark
28179436-6074-44fc-a783-52388b6dfee3

Hooper, Tara, Austen, Melanie C., Beaumont, Nicola, Heptonstall, Philip, Holland, Robert A., Ketsopoulou, Ioanna, Taylor, Gail, Watson, Jim and Winskel, Mark (2018) Do energy scenarios pay sufficient attention to the environment? Lessons from the UK to support improved policy outcomes. Energy Policy, 115, 397-408. (doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2018.01.028).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Scenario development is widely used to support the formation of energy policy, but many energy scenarios consider environmental interactions only in terms of climate change. We suggest that efforts to develop more holistic energy pathways, going beyond post hoc analysis of environmental and social implications, can usefully draw on environmental scenarios. A detailed content analysis of UK energy and environmental scenarios was therefore undertaken, with energy scenarios selected on the basis that they were recent, had a direct link to energy policy, and covered a range of scenario types. The energy scenarios rarely considered societal drivers beyond decarbonisation and focused on quantifiable parameters such as GDP, while the environmental scenarios provided a richer narrative on human behaviour and social change. As socio-economic issues remain fundamental to the success of energy policies, this is a key area which should be better addressed within energy scenarios. The environmental impacts of energy scenarios were rarely considered, but could have a significant bearing on the likelihood of pathway outcomes being realised. Fuller evaluation of the environmental interactions of energy systems is therefore required. Although the analysis focuses on the UK, some international scenarios show similar limitations, suggesting that the conclusions are more widely applicable.

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Hooper_Manuscript_Revised_R2_final - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 12 January 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 28 January 2018
Published date: 1 April 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417757
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417757
ISSN: 0301-4215
PURE UUID: e751a6fd-8175-4054-aa13-786bb60df493
ORCID for Robert A. Holland: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3038-9227
ORCID for Gail Taylor: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8470-6390

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 22 Nov 2021 06:07

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Contributors

Author: Tara Hooper
Author: Melanie C. Austen
Author: Nicola Beaumont
Author: Philip Heptonstall
Author: Ioanna Ketsopoulou
Author: Gail Taylor ORCID iD
Author: Jim Watson
Author: Mark Winskel

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