Document Type

Working Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Economics, Environmental sciences (social aspects, Transport planning and social aspects of transport

Publication Details

Working paper, DIT, 2013.


Quantitative point forecasts of energy and emissions have experienced difficulty with responding to uncertainty. Accuracy issues arise even in the short term with consequences for policy. The technique of scenario analysis is increasingly applied in scientific inquiry on the long term but it also has utility in the short term. This paper presents a discussion of the use of forecasts for prediction and proposes integrated or ´hybrid´ exploratory qualitative and quantitative scenarios in its stead. Various methodological issues are explored towards formulation of a scenario development process. Integrated scenarios structure thinking on the future, bound uncertainty, document important assumptions, aid communication, widen perspectives, can explore new dynamics and permit the exploration of ´softer´ issues in development paths such as governance, social and cultural drivers. These can be crucial to outcomes but are not captured by quantitative approaches alone. An example of the technique employed to construct integrated scenarios for Ireland to 2020 is presented, which as a process is applicable with diverse quantitative techniques. The advancement of more broad holistic perspectives on development and processes of change is policy relevant in all states, for which purpose integrated scenarios are an ideal analysis and mainstreaming tool even on short time scales.