Current Project

Canada’s Low Carbon Energy Futures: Multi-scale energy scenarios to enhance coordination in multilevel climate governance (Research supported by Energy Council of Canada)

Doctoral Thesis Committee:

  1. Dr. Vanessa Schweizer (Advisor) - University of Waterloo
  2. Dr. Johanna Wandel (Co-Advisor) - University of Waterloo
  3. Dr. Sarah Burch - University of Waterloo
  4. Dr. Joerg Wittenbrinck - Ontario Ministry of Energy

Various scenario techniques have been employed to ‘model’ socioeconomic futures, which are then used to determine the next course of actions that could lead to a ‘desirable’ future. Unfortunately, these scenarios show only the development pathways at the global level. Global scenarios cannot translate directly to the local context because the development pathways of each particular locality (e.g. countries) are different from one to the other. In this respect, there is a demand for developing scenarios at the lower levels (e.g. regional, country, provincial) that could show the sub-level dynamics. However, locally developed scenarios, for the most part, lack the ‘connection’ at different scales. This means the envisioned energy development pathways may not be aligned with the development pathways determined by the global scenarios. Energy development pathways are often shaped by exogenous factors outside the energy sector. Hence, scenarios developed with a narrow focus could be met with stumbling blocks because scenario users and/or policymakers, who may have a different viewpoint, might not be able to assimilate (or appreciate) scenario outcomes that have a different perspective from their own.

My research will address the following questions:

  • What is the current state of research in scenario research? Can scenario research contribute to understanding future implications of large-scale, complex, and multi-scalar environmental changes? What are other scenario methods (excluding Cross-impact Balance or CIB analysis) that could address multi-scale perspectives in scenario research, which means looking at various level and sectors such as transportation and energy?
  • How would energy scenarios be developed that are multi-scale? What are the scenario drivers relevant for the development of local and global energy scenarios? How would scenarios produced at a specific level (e.g., national/federal) be ‘linked’ with scenarios produced at different levels or scales? What can we understand about cross-scale/level/sector interactions?
  • What are the new developments in the application of the linked-CIB method for developing multi-scale scenarios for climate change research? How could we advance the implementation of cross-impact methods to model multi-scale issues (for example energy) about the envisioned futures within multi-level governance?