Scenarios in selected tools for environmental systems analysis

Summary

A number of different tools for analysing environmental impacts of different systems have been developed. These include procedural tools such as strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and environmental management systems (EMS) as well as analytical ones such as life cycle assessment (LCA), life cycle costing (LCC), cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and the system of economic and environmental accounts (SEEA) including input-output analysis (IOA). Descriptions or scenarios of the future are typically relevant elements in these tools, since they are often used to describe impacts in the future. For futures studies a number of different approaches and techniques have been developed. In an earlier paper we have presented a typology of different types of scenarios that respond to different types of questions. These include predictive scenarios, explorative scenarios and normative scenarios. The aim of this paper is to explore connections between selected tools for environmental systems analysis and different scenario types. Although there is a clear need for futures studies in several tools for environmental systems analysis, it is interesting to note that the literature on methodologies for and case studies of combinations of futures studies and environmental systems analysis tools is rather limited. This suggests that there is a need for further research in this area including both methodology and practical case studies.

Coworkers: Tomas Ekvall

Keywords: Environmental assessment, Environmental management, Life cycle assessment, Cost-benefit analysis, Input-output analysis, System of economic and environmental accounts, Forecasts, Predictive scenarios, External scenarios, Normative scenarios, Backcasting

Year: 2008.0

Report number: A1567

Authors: Mattias Höjer, Sofia Ahlroth, Karl-Henrik Dreborg, Tomas Ekvall, Göran Finnveden, Olof Hjelm, Elisabeth Hochschorner, Måns Nilsson, Viveka Palm

Published in: J. Cleaner Prod. 16(18): 1958-1970 2008