A sustainable development scenario in detail

Schrattenholzer L, Miketa A, Riahi K, & Roehrl RA (2004). A sustainable development scenario in detail. In: Achieving a Sustainable Global Energy System: Identifying Possibilities Using Long-Term Energy Scenarios. Eds. Schrattenholzer, L., Miketa, A., Riahi, K. & Roehrl, R.A., Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. ISBN 1

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Abstract

In this chapter, we describe one sustainable-development (SD) scenario in detail. The purpose of this description is to provide the readers with a basis for more detailed judgemental assessment of the scenario and its determining assumptions. We will present this from a policy perspective; that is, we emphasize the description of those parameters and variables that appear particularly interesting for policy making. These include overall and per capita economic growth as well as technological progress. Of these, technological progress is the one that is the focus of our modeling and assumed to be influenced by policy making. In our interpretation, policy making aimed at the support of appropriate technologies can help pave the way for sustainable development. As a means of emphasizing salient features of SD scenario described in detail in this chapter, we contrast them with assumptions that lead to non-sustainable scenario in a similar 'world'; that is, in a world in which the key boundary conditions are by and large the same and just the policies are different.

To emphasize the policy orientation, we illustrate how different policies contribute to the different developments of the scenarios. The assumed policies differ with respect to the direction of technical innovations. Two different sets of assumptions regarding different policy options lead once to an 'oil and gas'-rich future (OG), and once to a 'post-fossil fuel' future (PF). The latter turns out to be an SD scenario. To express this policy aspect, we also use the term 'strategy' synonymously with 'scenario', in particular in those places where we want to emphasize the policy relevance of a particular point.

'Post-fossil' means that technological progress is concentrated on conversion technologies fueled mainly by renewable energy, on technologies that produce and utilize synthetic fuels including hydrogen, as well as on efficiency improvements of end-use technologies. The 'oil and gas'-rich strategy is a future in which technological change is concentrated on the oil and natural gas sectors, including extraction and refinery technologies. Accordingly, technological progress in this scenario is reflected by cost reductions in unconventional oil and gas extraction and conversion technology and substantial improvements and extensions of the present pipeline grids, among others.

It is important to note that these characterizations are parts of the 'storylines' of the two scenarios and not the results of formal modeling. This is important for policy making because it means that the scenarios include steeper cost reductions for those technologies that are assumed to be the target of R&D and other technology policies. Based on these cost trajectories, the scenario suggests a specific (cost-optimal) development of the global energy supply mix, consistent with the qualitative assumptions in the storyline. Although then postulated cost reductions cannot be predicted with certainty, the scenarios describe possible consequences of policy making, and not even to consider the strategies would in our opinion make the scenarios unlikely, if not impossible. This is particularly true for the SD scenario.

The structure of this chapter is as follows. First, the assumption made for both scenarios are described and then the results are presented and discussed from a policy perspective. In the third section, we present an order-of-magnitude estimation of the R&D efforst required to achieve the technological progress assumed in the SD PF scenario.

We first present the assumptions on demographic and economic development which are common to both scenarios and go on to present the assumptions that describe the difference between the two technological strategies. Numerical assumptions for MESSAGE's 11 world regions are summarized and presented in aggregated form for four 'macro' world regions.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: Environmentally Compatible Energy Strategies (ECS)
Energy (ENE)
Transitions to New Technologies (TNT)
Bibliographic Reference: In: L. Schrattenholzer, A. Miketa, K. Riahi, R.A. Roehrl (eds); Achieving a Sustainable Global Energy System: Identifying Possibilities Using Long-Term Energy Scenarios; Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp.109-167 [2004]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:16
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2016 12:27
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/7197

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