Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

 

Embed or link this publication

Description

SCENARIOS ON STRATOSPHERIC ALBEDO MODIFICATION DEPLOYMENT IN 2030

Popular Pages


p. 1

1 MIRANDA BÖTTCHER, JOHANNES GABRIEL, SEBASTIAN HARNISCH Scenarios on stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030 WORKSHOP REPORT Priority Programme 1689 of the German Research Foundation (DFG) Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 2

2 Content Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 2. The CE Scenario Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3. The Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 4. The scenarios. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 4.1 »CEmerging Countries«. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 4.2 »Warming War« . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 4.3 »COAL-ition«. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 4.4  Observations and Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 5 Implications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 6 Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 6.1 Scenario Description: »CEmerging Countires« . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 6.2  Scenario Description: »Warming War«. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 6.3  Scenario Description: »COAL-ition«. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 7 Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Priority Programme 1689. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Imprint | Contact. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 SPP 1689 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 3

t t t Preface This report, and the SPP 1689 scenario workshop informing it, had a short gestation. Stimulated by modeling efforts within the GeoMIP framework and constant encouragement from the SPP 1689 office in Kiel, we began to consider the social, economic and political patterns and determinants of future decision-making on climate engineering (CE) in mid 2014. Because we cannot know or foresee the future of CE, we used scenarios to envision alternative plausible futures rather than to predict a probable policy trajectory. Scenarios provide an excellent tool for basic research on long-term policy problems with high conflict potential because they ideally identify plausible unintended consequences and pitfalls of decisions that may (or may not be) taken in the future. The longer we thought about the scenario exercises already conducted on the topic of CE, the more we were convinced that we would like to take a slightly different route. First, we thought that we have to differentiate between several stages of CE deployment – technology development, testing, and intentional deployment – in order to get a more comprehensive picture of political decision-making on CE. Secondly, we found that a project with a shorter time frame (up to the year 2030), had so far not been carried out, although CE testing seems plausible within the next 15 years (this is not to suggest that we foresee that CE development, testing or deployment will or should have come to pass by 2030). Third, the composition of the scenario development group had to suit its purpose – to untangle existing narratives and long-held convictions and to explore new possibilities. We therefore deliberately involved junior researchers in the field who may (or may not) hold less set views on the politics and economics of potential pathways towards CE deployment, testing and deployment. Fourth, we applied a rather formalized and structured scenario construction method in order to create a more complete and evidence-based anticipation of future decision-making pathways. We wrote the first proposal for the project in November 2014. Since then, we have received a lot of constructive advice from colleagues, workshop participants, and the SPP 1689 members. The Haus Rissen in Hamburg provided a splendid venue for the workshop and the hospitality of Rachel Folz has been instrumental in pushing this project forward and making it a truly rewarding experience. None of the above-mentioned institutions or individuals is responsible for any errors which may remain in this report. We are grateful for the invitation and funding by the SPP 1689. Sebastian Harnisch, Johannes Gabriel, Miranda Böttcher 3 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030 SPP 1689

[close]

p. 4

4 HAMBURG // 2015 // 22. – 24. MARCH Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030 WORKSHOP REPORT 1. Introduction In today’s world, policy makers face a host of long-term policy problems such as climate and demographic change, or technological revolution. These problems involve high levels of uncertainty and will have huge impacts on future generations (Sprinz 2013). Climate or geoengineering, the »deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the planetary climate system to counteract global warming« (Royal Society 2009: 1) represents precisely the kind of complex issue characterized by high levels of uncertainty and the potential to have huge impacts on future generations.1 Whereas CDR technologies are projected to be more expensive and less effective, SRM technologies are often described as cost-efficient and are 1 There are two main categories geoengineering: Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and Solar Radiation Management (SRM). CDR methods reduce the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, allowing outgoing long-wave heat radiation to escape more easily. SRM methods reduce the net incoming short-wave solar radiation and thus warmth reaching the Earth (Royal Society 2009). Miranda Böttcher, M.A. Johannes Gabriel, Dr. Sebastian Harnisch, Prof. Dr. SPP 1689 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 5

expected to have an immediate effect, if ever deployed. In particular, stratospheric albedo modification (SAM) could potentially offer strong leverage. In the face of deep uncertainty, the field of futurology is becoming increasingly relevant. Futurology is »the scientific study of possible, probable and desirable future developments, the options for shaping them, and their roots in past and present« (Kreibich 2007: 181). Among the multitude of futurology methods, scenario approaches are becoming increasingly popular (Kosow & Gaßner 2008: 6). A scenario is »a description of a future situation, including paths of development which may lead to that future situation« (Kosow & Gaßner 2008:11). Scenarios do not claim to predict the future, but rather provide a »hypothetical construct of possible futures on the basis of knowledge gained in the present and past« which can be used to reflect upon a set of numerous possible futures (Kosow & Gaßner 2008:12). It may be impossible to foresee if and when SAM might be deployed in the future. However, it is possible to think about alternative deployment (or non-deployment) situations: Different scenarios based on alternative expectations and analytical thinking can be generated to contribute to anticipatory governance. The goal of this SPP 1689 scenario project was to develop a first appraisal of what effects a high-risk climate intervention technology such as SAM could have on the dynamics of international relations. More concretely, it aimed to develop scenarios regarding »Political decision-making on stratospheric albedo modification deployment in 2030« to examine under which conditions states could opt for SAM deployment. In preparing for this project, we examined a variety of CE scenario exercises to identify potential gaps in the literature. The following section will position our scenario building exercise in the existing CE scenario landscape before the scenario building process we used is explained, the scenarios developed are outlined and the implications for further research are discussed. 5 2. The CE Scenario Landscape While an unknown number of informal, unpublished scenario sessions have been conducted on the topic, there has so far been no comprehensive overview over the types of climate engineering scenarios developed and the methodologies they have utilized. The following represent the most well-documented scenario development exercises in the field of climate engineering. The CGG Geoengineering Governance Scenarios Workshop which was held in October 2014 in London aimed to develop scenarios around the central question: How far may geoengineering technologies develop and under what institutional arrangements (ESRC 2014)? The Scenario Planning for Solar Radiation Management (SRM) workshop was held in September 2011 in Yale, and the workshop Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030 SPP 1689

[close]

p. 6

6 report and detailed scenarios were published in August 2013 (Banerjee, B. et al. 2013). The workshop was loosely based around the question: What key uncertainties need to be reduced before SRM research and deployment can be considered? The Global Governance of Geoengineering: Using Red Teaming to explore future Agendas, Coalitions and International Institutions was based on an exercise carried out in Kingston, Ontario in 2011 (Milkoreit et al. 2011). It aimed answer the central question of how policy entrepreneurs can use the potential for strategic agenda-setting to shape the governance of geoengineering. The policy scenarios developed aimed to simulate and test the possible options for action and their consequences. Several other authors have published articles which include the discussion of possible future »geoengineering scenarios« without using any explicit scenario techniques (see Baum, Maher & Haqq-Misra 2013; Bodansky 2013 & 2011; Planungsamt der Bundeswehr 2012; Schneider 2009). Numerous other scenario games and workshops have taken place at geoengineering conferences and academic gatherings without the proceedings having been published or otherwise made publicly available.2 2 Examples include scenario activities at the Climate Engineering Summer Schools in Banff, Canada and Harvard, USA in 2011 and 2013, at an interdisciplinary workshop on geoengineering in Heidelberg, Germany in 2012, and at the CEC 2014 in Berlin in August 2014. An analysis of the most well-documented scenario-building exercises has shown that: The majority of scenarios developed were explorative policy scenarios based on qualitative data. They all sought to answer central questions on geoengineering governance. The chronological scope was generally medium- to long-term, and the geographical scope of all scenarios was international to global. The participants involved in the development of the scenarios were primarily academics or experts in the field, and the scenario techniques used were generally creative-narrative. State actors were privileged, and uncertainty and conflict potential were identified as central issues in all scenarios developed. All exercises included the eventual deployment of geoengineering technologies. Solar radiation management technologies were more commonly considered than carbon removal methods. Our scenario project was far from the first conducted on the future of climate engineering. However, it had some features which make it unique in the CE scenario landscape. First, our scenarios focused on a shorter time horizon than previous foresight projects (15 years) because we believe it is plausible to assume that deployment could happen within a short time frame if ongoing research shows that CE techniques currently under discussion can provide even limited leverage to lower global mean temperature. Secondly, our scenario development process did not, as former projects did, focus on governance SPP 1689 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 7

Time: Short-term < > long-term 7 Scenario Technique: Creative-narrative < > systematic-formalized Focus: Governance < > broader environment/context London 2014 Yale 2011 Kingston 2011 Hamburg 2015 Framing: SRM only < > climate response Figure 1: This project’s scope vis-à-vis former foresight projects | own illustration questions themselves. Rather, we wanted to focus on possible situations governance frameworks could face in the future, to address specific political, economic and social contexts and to trace the dynamics of deployment decisions. We therefore cracked open the black box concept of the state and integrated the impact of various non-state and societal actors into our analysis. Thirdly, while our scenarios focused on the question of SAM deployment, they specifically aimed to incorporate all climate response strategies, including mitigation and adaptation. Fourthly, we used a more structured scenario construction technique in order to increase the analytical depth of our scenarios. Figure 1 illustrates the similarities and differences of this project’s scope vis-à-vis former foresight projects.3 3 For London 2014 see ESRC (2014): Economic & Social Research Council: CGG Geoengineering Governance Scenarios Workshop Outline, 13 October 2014: Royal Institution, London. For Yale 2011 see Banerjee, B. et al. (2013): Scenario Planning for Solar Radiation Management. Workshop Report and Scenarios, Scenario Planning for Solar Radiation Management (New Haven 2011), New Haven: Yale Climate and Energy Institute. For Kingston 2011 see Milkoreit, Manjana et al. (2011): The Global Governance of Geoengineering: Using Red Teaming to explore future Agendas, Coalitions and International Institutions, in: CEADS Papers Volume 1: Red Teaming. Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030 SPP 1689

[close]

p. 8

t t t 8 3. The Process This scenario project consisted of three phases: Preparation, implementation, and follow-up. In preparation for the scenario workshop, the Implementation occurred during a two-day program team defined the scope of the targeted workshop, held at Haus Rissen in Hamburg between March 22nd and March 24th, scenarios: 2015. The participants were guided through 1. The focus and the title of the scenario a structured communication process that development was stated as »political included several analytical steps: decision-making on stratospheric albedo 1. The group analysed the broader environ­ modification deployment in 2030«. ment of »political decision-making 2. The context was set to include all climate on stratospheric albedo modification response strategies, including CE, deployment« in order to identify a range of adaptation and mitigation. political, social, technological, economical, and other descriptors that play a role in 3. The time frame was set to 2030. this issue. From these 50 descriptors, the 4. Several basic assumptions were set. These group selected eight key uncertainties by included the assumptions that non-state first assessing the impact and uncertainty actors are not capable of deploying any SAM of every descriptor individually with the effectively alone, that climate disruptions help of an online rating program and then are increasingly perceived as a threat, and discussing the individual assessments and that there are several stages of deployment deciding on the key uncertainties as a group between the untested technological (see α in figure 2). capability to deploy and intentional deployment in order to lower the Earth’s 2. Each of four breakout groups defined 2 key uncertainties and developed between average temperature. 3 and 5 possible outcomes in 2030 for each 5. The program formed an interdisciplinary factor. The results of the breakout groups team for the scenario workshop by selecting were discussed by the whole group to create 9 PhD students and scientists from the and ensure shared understanding (see β in SPP 16894 with various backgrounds in figure 2). 4 Barbara Saxler (Trier University), Christian Baatz (Kiel University), Christine Merk (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), Christoph Kleinschmitt (Heidelberg University), Fabian Reith (GEOMAR), Martin Behrens (Kiel Earth Institute), Miriam Ferrer-Gonzales (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology), Nils Matzner (AlpenAdria-Universität Klagenfurt), Tobias Pfrommer (Heidelberg University) natural sciences, social sciences and law and disseminated the project’s scope in a concept note. SPP 1689 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 9

9 Impact Uncertainty t t t Figure 2: α: descriptors (light) and key uncertainties (dark), β: key uncertainties (dark) and respective projections for 2030 (light), γ: alternative scenario frameworks (gray, yellow, orange), δ: plausible pattern of events into alternative futures (gray, yellow, orange) | own illustration 3. The group created four very different yet plausible scenario frameworks. A scenario framework consists of a plausible combi­ nation of one projection from each key uncertainty. In order to ensure equal participation and to establish consistency within the frameworks, the group conducted a structured communication process which we called a reduced morphological analysis. A morphological analysis is a methodological approach used to explore solutions for multidimensional problems, like constructing consistent (multidimensional) scenario frameworks. The group deployed a reduced analysis because it did not test every possible combination (34,600) but developed highly consistent frameworks step by step, connecting a first key uncertainty’s projection with the most plausible projection from the next key uncertainty and so on (see γ in figure 2) Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030 SPP 1689

[close]

p. 10

10 4. Three breakout groups were created to build upon the three most interesting scenario frameworks. Each group was asked to first describe the state of their respective world in 2030 and then to define the events that led to this future situation. By constructing a plausible pathway leading to the consistent picture of the future, each group reviewed and reinforced the consistency of their respective scenario and created a storyline that was essential to communicate the still rather abstract scenarios to people who had not been part of the construction process (see δ in figure 2). In the follow-up phase after the scenario workshop, the program team took over. Based on the work of the workshop participants, the program team created text versions of the scenarios in order to present the scenarios in a written report and allow the participants to review the scenarios they had created. 4. The scenarios The following summaries provide an overview of the analytical building blocks of each scenario. The fully-fledged scenario descriptions, which provide an in-depth perspective to prove the logical consistency and thereby the plausibility of the scenarios constructed, can be found in the annex. 4.1 »CEmerging Countries« The first scenario on SAM deployment in 2030 is entitled »CEmerging Countries«. It envisions a fluid and presumably growing coalition centred on China and India, who intend to deploy SAM after conducting more large-scale testing in the near future (2035?). Several underlying core dynamics drive this scenario: First, natural disasters hit Asia and Africa more frequently and with an higher amplitude than the Americas and Europe, causing vast economic damages. People in the affected states are convinced (or have been convinced by others), that these floods, droughts, typhoons, and monsoon anomalies are a direct result of ongoing climate change. Second, China and India succeed in their joint push for the highly competitive development and production of renewable energy technologies and reduce the CO2-intensity of their economies by investing in non-carbon electricity, heating, and mobility systems. In combination, these dynamics entail an interest for the »young powers« to deploy climate engineering SPP 1689 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 11

technologies in order to buy time until economic transformations around the globe (with the help of their technologies) results in successful mitigation. A third dynamic forces China, India, and other countries with similar political non-carbon economies – such as Brazil and South Africa – to co-operate, not only in economic relations but also on climate engineering; namely the fact that SAM has been shown to be an inefficient and costly technology. Similar core dynamics apply to a group of »old powers,« but they have the converse effect: The economies of the US and the EU are in a stalemate, financial resources to push economic transformation onto a more sustainable track do not exist, while consumption and production patterns are still based on fussil fuels. Unlike in Asia and Africa, people perceive the impacts of climate change to be acceptable, as natural disasters are less frequent or perceived to be not directly associated with climate change. Moreover, social rejection due to the fear of unintended consequences and the lack of public financial resources lead to SAM tests being banned in the US and the EU. In this scenario, opposing interests, triggered by different socially constructed aims of SAM and diverging political economies, as well as an alienation of the old powers due to shifts in economic and innovation power, lead to a situation in which a loose coalition of young powers has the tested capability and the intention to deploy SAM, whereas the old powers are hesitant to follow the young power’s invitation to jointly buy time for mitigation. 11 4.2 »Warming War« The second scenario’s title is »Warming War«. It illustrates a situation in which two opposing coalitions – the US, the EU, and Australia on the one hand, China and Russia on the other hand – are on the brink of military conflict over SAM deployment. The underlying core dynamics can be summarized as follows: In addition to causing many deaths and direct economic damages, natural disasters in the US, the EU and Australia triggered social unrest arising from massive crop failures, water shortages and forced mass relocations. These regional disasters were perceived as the outcome of a global climate on the verge of a tipping point. As many European countries and the US are occupied with implementing adaptation measures, there is no room to consider further mitigation efforts or strategies on how to make the transition to a sustainable and CO2-independent lifestyle, they are trapped in transition. The result of these two driving forces is the shared understanding that a permanent cap on global warming is needed to maintain lifestyles and save lives. With a proven radiative forcing capacity of 6 W/m2, SAM turned out to be not only effective but also highly efficient, giving single states the financial and technical means to intentionally deploy SAM unilaterally to cap warming. There are almost diametrically opposing forces driving the other front of this »warming SPP 1689 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 12

12 war«, namely China and Russia. China is in the midst of a successful transition to decouple economic development from CO2 emissions by transforming its energy system to renewables and by exporting renewable energy technologies. In contrast, Russia is actually benefiting from global warming as it allows resource extraction in and inhabitation of the northern regions. Besides the economic factors opposing SAM deployment to cap global warming, Chinese and Russian societies fear (possibly with propaganda support) the intended and unintended detrimental effects of SAM on their environments. Some South American and Asian coastal states join the front against SAM due to similar fears. India is indecisive on SAM deployment because it is in a difficult situation: On the one hand, India’s economic survival depends on CO2, on the other hand, research indicates that SAM deployment would have negative effects on India’s own environment. Due to Cold War-like block-building and alienation between western and eastern powers, the front against SAM deployment solidifies the coalition for deployment. 4.3 »COAL-ition« »COAL-ition« is the title of the third scenario for SAM deployment in 2030. This scenario is also about a two opposing coalitions. However, in this case China, the US and Australia are ready for SAM deployment, while European, African and some tropical island states are against deployment. The dynamics driving this trajectory look familiar: While droughts in the US and China caused extremely high crop yield loss, China, Indonesia, and Australia started to cooperate to stem the wave of climate refugees from other South­ east Asian states. The growth model of China and Australia is based on industrial produc­ tion fired by coal, supplemented with CCS technologies. A Republican political campaign in the US for cheap fossil fuel aims to revive the ailing US economy while pushing for climate engineering research to counterbalance additional CO2 emissions. In combination, these developments lead to a common interest in buying more time to transform national growth models and in implementing mitigation strategies in the medium-term (2040) with the help of SAM deployment. In addition, some technological breakthroughs in spraying technologies positively influenced the interest in SAM deployment as it appeared more efficient. Unsurprisingly, the opponents of SAM deployment face different developments: Driven by Russian natural gas embargos, the EU finally implemented a common energy market and an emissions trading system, pushed for renewable energy technology innovations, and invested in photovoltaic projects in Africa. Russia, however, is profiting from global warming and therefore in line with European countries on opposing SAM deployment as both the EU and Russia fear the side effects of SAM: The halt of global warming, the SPP 1689 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 13

t t t moral hazard that would eliminate mitigation efforts and the unintended consequences of a technology that has not yet been fully tested. As SAM deployment needs planes in the air, the opponents can threaten the doers with military intervention, which could easily escalate this tense situation. 4.4  Observations and Interpretation Scenarios can be analysed through the three analytical layers that were used to construct the scenarios in a group process: Projections, key uncertainties, and scenarios. A closer look at the analytical components of the three scenarios, the projections, can reveal some indications regarding the probability of the different scenarios. A word of caution is necessary here: probability is not a scientific criterion that has anything to do with the future, it just reflects current expectations in the light of past developments (Gabriel 2013: 117-118; Gabriel 2014). Nonetheless, it could be useful to think about the likelihood of a scenario in relation to other scenarios in order to draw implications not only for basic research, but also for policy planning. Three projections are worth highlighting here: One component of the scenario »Warming War« is the proven efficiency of SAM to reduce warming by 6 ­W/m2. This projection certainly delineates the realm of possibility, which is a useful thing for scenario planning, because scenarios are first and foremost about possibility. However, if computer models were to prove this value impossible in the near future, the likelihood of this scenario would clearly decrease. Another interesting projection is part of the scenario »COAL-ition« and assumes negative CO2 emissions due to major innovations in CDR technologies. If discussions on the general efficiency of CDR technologies in the near future conclude that CDR can never be more efficient than not emitting CO2 in the first place (see Keller et.al. 2014; Mathesius et. al. 2015), the likelihood of the scenario would be reduced. Yet another projection assumes the ongoing power shift to China and other emerging economies, which from a current perspective indicates a higher likelihood of the scenario »CEmerging countries«. Focusing the analysis on the level of key uncertainties leads to two interesting observations. First, there is an obvious correlation between the factor »Major Shift in Global Power Balance« and the countries which deploy SAM in the scenarios. If China and the US stay in a power balance for the next decade, it is plausible to assume that both states will be in favour of SAM deployment. If China and other emerging countries gain relative power vis-à-vis the old western powers, it is plausible to assume that the former will be working towards SAM deployment while the latter oppose it. If, on the contrary, the US and the EU regain momentum, it seems plausible that they would push for SAM deployment. Of course, further conditions apply, as illustrated in the scenarios. 13 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030 SPP 1689

[close]

p. 14

14 This leads to another observation from a systemic perspective which is illustrated in the analytical scenario summaries above: SAM deployment is politically and socially constructed. One could argue that technology in general cannot be isolated from a social context because it is always a means to an end, and all social ends are constructed. Also, successful technology innovation – the process that leads from an idea to its lasting application – is a societal phenomenon as various groups like producers, consumers, regulators and others interact in markets. However, SAM is a special case because this technology deals with problems on the scale of societies and therefore also with global risks. The special character of SAM is reinforced by the fact that SAM is still nothing more than an idea at the very beginning of the innovation process. The scenarios reveal some constructed elements in the innovation process, namely the perception (by the public) and the securitization (by politicians) of the link between extreme weather events and climate change, as well as the political aim of SAM deployment itself. Moreover, it turns out that these elements are rather independent variables in these (incomplete) theories of the future, while technological influences such as the efficiency of SAM are rather intervening variables. In all three scenarios, SAM has already been deployed either in the form of a technological component test or in the form of large-scale field tests. In two of the three scenarios, some SPP 1689 governments have even made their intentions to deploy SAM as a means to alter the global temperature explicit. One has to wonder why there are no possible futures in the scenario tableau in which SAM deployment does not take place. The answer has a practical and theoretical component. First of all, during the workshop the participants actually framed a non-deployment scenario (see the grey-marked scenario in figure »Scenario Frameworks«). Since this grey scenario was composed of many »status quo« projections, it was not considered to be an interesting case about the future in the context of a scenario project because describing the status quo would have been very close to the situation today. In addition, a status quo scenario would not have been an interesting case for »SAM deployment in 2030« because there was no deployment at all. These practical reasons for rejecting a non-deployment scenario of course do not speak against the general development of non-deployment scenarios. It would, for instance, be very interesting to deliberately construct a set of non-deployment scenarios and analyse under which conditions these scenarios could be considered »best cases« or »worst cases«. The theoretical component of not choosing a grey status quo scenario concerns the likelihood: Is it likely that there is no political, social, technological or economical change over the next 15 years (remember, 15 years ago we did not have smartphones, no war on terrorism, and no IMF/ECB/EU Troika)? For these reasons, the group constructed the Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030

[close]

p. 15

t t t »COAL-ition« scenario, altering the status quo only slightly by integrating the assumption that some states plan to deploy SAM while others oppose it (key uncertainty »Doers and Opposers«, projection C). As one participant in the end of the scenario workshop indicated, all scenarios are based on two fragile assumptions: First, actors make rational choices and second, there is sufficient information available about actors’ preferences and agendas. Both assumptions are questionable yet justifiable – in particular in a scenario project. A justification can be made using a pragmatic argument: In order to construct and analyse a system that is complex in its structure and in its dynamics, it is necessary to reduce the degrees of freedom of this system by making basic assumptions. Rational actors and sufficient information are useful assumptions that help to make the complex system of »SAM deployment in 2030« manageable for an interdisciplinary group. A more theoretical justification could point out that these assumptions only apply to the analytical process of scenario construction, but not to the scenario descriptions themselves. Irrational behaviour and deception could have played a role in some parts of the scenario trajectories. However, illustrative elements are not appropriate to alter the core development logic of scenarios. The scenarios developed here are not sufficient to provide insights on the role of deception and irrational behaviour in the field of SAM deployment. 5 Implications Our scenario-building exercise and the subsequent analysis of the results revealed several interesting implications. The first two are insights into the scenario-building process, and the following four are substantial findings which provide suggestions for further research. First of all, our scenario-development approach made it possible for the group to construct a range of plausible scenarios first and then to assign probabilities to these scenarios, as outlined above. It is important to note, however, that probabilities cannot tell us anything about the future. Probabilities are simply indicators for current expectations based on many status quo assumptions. The incorporation of experts from various fields and an expert in the field of scenario methodology in the scenario-building process allowed the team to not only span a broad range of plausible futures, but also to draw on expert knowledge to isolate probable futures within this span and to pinpoint indicators worth monitoring to identify the approximate direction of long-term change. Secondly, the interdisciplinary nature of the scenario-building group enabled us to identify and delve into the complexity of actor constellations in a range of climatic, economic, social and political environments with regard to decision-making on a specific set of CE technologies (SAM). The workshop demonstrated that scenario 15 Scenarios on Stratospheric Albedo Modification Deployment in 2030 SPP 1689

[close]

Comments

no comments yet