World Congress on Risk 2015
19-23 July, 2015, Singapore

Online Program

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Tuesday 21-07-2015

Innovations in the development, use, and analysis of scenarios for assessing climate risks

Room: Auditorium   15:30–17:00

Chair(s): Vanessa Schweizer

1    Anticipating energy transition surprises: near-optimal energy scenarios under parametric uncertainty. Trutnevyte E    (21)

Abstract: Scenario technique is often used for risk assessment and governance of energy-related decisions. A retrospective study of the UK energy scenarios from late 1970s to today showed that such scenarios tend to overlook some elements of surprise. These surprises are not necessarily “unknown unknowns,” but rather – “unexpected knowns.” For example, although gas CCGT technology was emerging in the late 1980s, none of the UK national energy scenarios considered such a possibility at the time. Eventually, gas CCGT was rapidly deployed throughout the UK in 1990s. Also, until 2008 none of the UK energy scenarios considered a possibility of an economic crisis. While such surprises could have been anticipated with the knowledge of the time, scenario developers overlooked them. This presentation shows how the analysis of large numbers of maximally-different, near-optimal energy scenarios under parametric uncertainty could help anticipate such “unexpected knowns.” The D-EXPANSE model (Dynamic version of EXPlorAtion in Near-optimal ScEnarios) is combined with the Monte Carlo technique. The retrospective UK electricity system transition from 1990 to 2010 is modeled to illustrate how some “unexpected knowns” could be anticipated. Implications for developing future energy scenarios for risk assessment are then drawn.

2    Uncovering instabilities in socio-economic pathways through a dynamic analytical approach. Guivarch C, CIRED, Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Developpement, France; Schweizer V*, Department of Knowledge Integration, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada; Rozenberg J, Climate Change Group Chief Economist Office, World Bank, Washington DC, USA (24)

Abstract: The traditional approach to construct scenarios in integrated assessment (IA) modelling studies has two principal shortcomings regarding how risk and uncertainty are handled: (1) the ad hoc nature of exploring vast socioeconomic uncertainties with only a small number of scenarios; (2) the conventional representation of alternative scenario typologies as “diverging universes”, which provide little insight on socioeconomic conditions that could lead to bifurcations. These shortcomings may inhibit the possibility to uncover the risks associated with socio-economic trajectories. As an analytical approach that may improve the situation, we demonstrate a dynamic method for constructing and analysing large numbers of scenarios. We provide an example application using the framework for Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, which are new socioeconomic scenarios for climate change research. First, we explored the space of possible futures through hundreds of scenarios that were derived systematically rather than through only a few contrasting cases. Second, we applied a time-varying scenario typology to inspect scenario evolutions. Through such an inspection, scenarios with particularly policy-relevant behaviour (such as risk of instability) were isolated. Third, statistical data mining techniques were applied to uncover their common drivers. We applied this approach to develop visualizations of the evolution of the ensemble of scenarios through the SSP typology space over the 21st century, and to find general patterns for the stability of each of the SSP types. We defined stability according to whether a scenario classified as a particular type of SSP in the short term retained its classification over the long-term. We find the most unstable SSP type is defined by high growth and high emissions in the short-term. This analytical perspective that focuses on studying the conditions for instabilities may be a substantial improvement for the policy relevance of sustainability research.

3    Using scenarios for projecting armed civil conflict. Gilmore E    (49)

Abstract: Estimating climate impacts is needed for making decisions on both mitigation and adaptation policies. For these efforts, credible, internally consistent scenarios that span the range of plausible futures on the climate, socioeconomic and policy dimensions are a critical input. Here, we use the new scenario architecture from the climate change community to develop projections of the likely onset, duration and termination of intrastate armed conflict from present to 2100 using a novel simulation approach. To develop the projections, we start by estimating empirical relationships of conflict propensity as a function of known, robust predictors, such as economic growth, population, educational attainment, conflict history and neighbors in conflict. Second, we develop relationships that represent how climate impacts may influence conflict propensity. We then use these relationships to project conflict both without and with climate impacts over the three components of the scenario architecture: representative concentratio6n pathways (RCPs), shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) and shared policy assumptions (SPAs). Starting with the SSPs, we investigate the baseline probability for conflict for the socioeconomic futures. Depending on the model specification, we observe increases in conflict from present without applying additional climate indicators. Since the pathways from climate change to conflict are likely indirect, these scenarios allow us to construct intermediate variables that increase the risk of conflict, such as changes in food prices. Finally, adding the relationship between these variables and conflict, we examine the potential for climate policies as defined by the SPAs to mitigate conflict.

4    Internally consistent nesting of multi-level, qualitative socioeconomic scenarios. Kerniawan J    (40)

Abstract: Future developments of multiple socioeconomic trends will be relevant for climate risks. In addition, trends may develop unevenly, with the rapid economic growth of developing countries and slowing economic growth of industrialized countries being an example. Such uneven developments can occur across and within countries. For this reason, nested socioeconomic scenarios may be useful for investigating climate risks that manifest at different levels of social organization, or scales. Moreover, some socioeconomic trends – such as styles of governance, power differentials, or indicators of social cohesion – may be better described qualitatively. Nevertheless it may be informative for qualitative scenarios to retain internal consistency that can be shown analytically. This presentation will demonstrate a methodological innovation based on cross-impact balance analysis for such nested qualitative scenarios. A simple case of a two-region world with different domestic trends (for example, educational attainment and income per capita growth) but some shared global trends can yield interestingly diverse multi-level scenarios that may be overlooked when scenarios are constructed holistically. The implications of this work for new scenarios in the framework of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways will then be explored.

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