A framework for multisector scenarios of outcomes for well‐being and resilience

B. C. O'Neill, J. Morris, J. Lamontagne, J. Weyant, and M. Wise

Earths Future (3 May 2024)

DOI: 10.1029/2023EF004343


Shared community scenarios of societal and environmental system changes have underpinned a broad range of research and assessment studies over the past several decades. These scenarios have largely aimed to address specific questions within broad issue areas like climate change or biodiversity and generally provided information on the drivers of change. The consequences of those drivers, such as impacts on society and policy responses, have tended to be left to the research community to investigate, using scenarios of drivers as inputs to their studies, producing projections of a disparate set of relevant output metrics. While this approach has had many benefits, it has fallen short of producing a robust, comparable literature describing outcomes across studies in common metrics. We argue that new scenarios are needed that extend current approaches to be organized around common outcome metrics for the well‐being and resilience of society and ecosystems. We propose an approach that would focus on agreed upon outcomes for well‐being and resilience as well as critical drivers of change, cut across issues and scales in multiple sectors, and draw on new systematic methods of scenario generation and discovery to highlight scenarios that are most critical in understanding societal risks and responding to them. Research derived from this outcome‐based scenario development approach would facilitate improved assessment of risks of and responses to a range of stressors and the multi‐sector interactions they generate.

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