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An Institutional Critique of New Climate Scenarios

Lee Lane

Leading climate analysts are designing a set of new policy scenarios that will be used to frame future climate policy analyses. This new exercise seeks to improve the realism of the scenarios used in climate policy analysis. In recent decades, rational choice institutionalism (RCI) has increasingly influenced several social sciences. A systematic effort to apply findings and concepts borrowed from RCI studies would offer three types of benefits to this scenario exercise. First, it would increase internal consistency within each of the projected scenarios. Second, it would enhance the realism of the entire suite of scenarios. Third, it would illuminate a range of factors, trends, and causal pathways than might otherwise be considered. These gains could be exploited best by engaging some leading RCI scholars in the scenario building process.

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Climate Change, February 2014, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 447-458

  • This article is part of the Special Issue on “A Framework for the Development of New Socio-economic Scenarios for Climate Change Research” edited by Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Robert Lempert, and Anthony Janetos.

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