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Lara Strupeit

Lars Strupeit

Project manager

Lara Strupeit

Developing Emission Scenarios to aid Air Pollution Prevention and Control


  • Lars Strupeit
  • Philip Peck

Summary, in English

This document Developing Emission Scenarios to aid Air Pollution Prevention and Control: A guideline manual for RAPIDC in South Asia has been written as a general introduction to the generation and utilisation of scenarios in a specific context. That context encompasses deliberate action to reduce the generation and impacts of air pollution. Thus, the work is intended to support the implementation of mitigation options that promote pollution prevention and control.

More specifically, this manual has been compiled within the framework of Phase III of the programme on Regional Air Pollution in Developing Countries (RAPIDC) funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and coordinated by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI). This work has been produced by the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University with input from the programme’s National Implementing Agencies (generally research organizations, pollution control boards, etc.) in South Asia and Africa. The content is primarily directed towards the eight signatory countries to the Malé Declaration on Control and Prevention of Air Pollution and Its Likely Transboundary Effects for South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) but is by intent relevant to most developing countries.

The application of scenarios has become popular in recent years among a range of social actors that include the business community, scientific institutions and the public policy making arena. As a leading example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has built greenhouse gas emission scenarios to assess the risk of human-induced climate change. These scenarios have been widely used in the public policy debate on climate change for awareness raising, understanding driving forces, and for the evaluation of mitigation options. On a supra-national level, the European Commission regularly makes use of scenarios in both their long-term strategic planning as well as for tangible policy making in the short and medium term. As such, working with Scenarios is both well established and has been found to be useful – as such, this report has a point of departure that scenario work can be useful in supporting work to reduce the generation and impacts of air pollution in areas such as South Asia.

However, at the outset it has been sought to address some basic questions about scenario work. Rather than a normative “how to” or “recipe” approach for scenarios that is focused on air pollution vectors alone, this document seeks to provide insights into the context, process and practical detail of scenario work. Five general queries have structured the content of this text.

What is a ‘scenario’?

If that is a “scenario”, then what is an ‘emission scenario’?

How can we develop scenarios (or emission scenarios)?

How can scenarios be applied to facilitate change?

What is the usefulness of the very process of ‘scenario development’ as compared to the “result” of the process?

This document has worked from the viewpoint that knowledge in such areas is vital to provide the reader with perspective on the wider issues of scenario work. As such, it is to serve as a general introduction to scenarios in the context of reducing the generation and impacts of air pollution. It is also intended to support the implementation of mitigation options that promote pollution prevention and control.

Moreover, while the work to produce this document was primarily directed towards the eight signatory countries for the Malé Declaration on Control and Prevention of Air Pollution and Its Likely Transboundary Effects for South Asia, the general approach taken means that many of the messages within this text relevant to most developing countries.

Despite generality, this guideline never-the-less provides concrete advice in a number of areas regarding matters such as methodological choices, actions required when preparing for scenario work, desirable participants in scenario programmes, and so forth. Particular focus is given to areas considered vital to the progress of meaningful scenario generation – and for successful result communication in future works among the countries signatory to the Malé convention.

However, as an introductory text produced for a specific audience in the process of building capacity there are limitations placed on the scope of this guideline. This document precedes the substantial efforts that will be required of NIAs in their scenario work. Nearly all the methodological choices that they must make and most of the data collection required to underpin their scenario work lie in the future. In light of NIA progress to date, questions of “how to perform quantitative modelling” are considered somewhat inappropriate. Such items are related to specific models or tools for scenario generation – and work in such areas lies in the future and beyond the scope of this document.

In the light of the above, the main content of this report concentrates on addressing what, why, when and how issues for scenario application. The guideline manual does so in the following manner and order.

What is a ‘scenario’?

In addressing this query, the text contributes to the understanding of what scenarios “are” via provision of examples of when scenarios are useful, and what scenario types are available to serve certain purposes. In addition to a range of scenario definitions and an outline of scenario typology, brief examples of how organizations have applied scenarios are supplied. Moreover, a range of cross-references to scenario exercises in the field of air pollution and sustainable development are listed.

What is an ‘emission scenario’?

Discussion of the purpose, use and typology of emission scenarios is important to addressing this question. Clear delineation between different methodological approaches such as top-down socio-economic models and bottom-up technology based methods is provided in order to place the emission inventory work of the RAPIDC programme in its own context (bottom-up). Following this theme, details of the bottom-up emission factor approach for conducting emission scenarios are described in more detail.

How can we develop scenarios (or emission scenarios)?

Reviews of past and present scenario studies are used in order to describe the process of general scenario generation and then emission scenarios creation. The scenario exercises chosen represent themes such as emissions, energy, transport, and sustainable development at a range of different geographical scales (global, regional, national). Moreover, in recognition of the central importance of models and tools for scenario work, the report then includes an overview summary of existing models and tools for the generation of emission scenarios and related integrated assessment exercises. Content focuses on models that can be, or already have been applied to developing countries and in particular in the Asia-Pacific region.

How can scenarios be applied to facilitate change?

Finally the manual provides an example of the story-and-simulation approach in order to demonstrate how change facilitation can take place. Here, particular focus is given to how one might organise teams to build scenarios – and what sorts of “stakeholder” organisations could, or should, be involved. This section again stresses the point that a sufficiently broad stakeholder engagement is a prerequisite for a successful scenario generation exercise – a major theme throughout this work.

This guideline then concludes with comments that while it IS possible to create emission scenarios within a small scientific group and that such scenarios can then be communicated to a wider audience, it is considered that this may not be the best pathway to successful communication of the results. A more inclusive process has been outlined in this document for the Malé countries.

A guiding theme for the document has been that if the scenario generation process is performed without significant audience/stakeholder participation, then the credibility of the result may be limited. An integrated approach is advocated that brings important stakeholder groups together. This increases the likelihood that both the process and output will be consistent, meaningful, understood, and accepted by key audiences.

In the light of this comment, the authors look forward to following the future process of emission scenario work among the NIAs of participating Malé countries and the rich stakeholder interactions it should include.


  • The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

Publishing year




Document type



Stockholm Environmental Institute


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • LEAP
  • Integrated Information and Assessment System
  • emission factor
  • forecasting
  • backcasting
  • developing countries
  • environmental policy
  • scenarios
  • air pollution
  • IVE
  • story and simulation approach




  • Regional Air Pollution in Developing Countries (RAPIDC)