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Unpacking the modeling process for energy policy making

Lo Piano, S. ORCID:, Lőrincz, M. J. ORCID:, Puy, A., Pye, S., Saltelli, A., Smith, S. T. ORCID: and van der Sluijs, J. (2023) Unpacking the modeling process for energy policy making. Risk Analysis. ISSN 1539-6924

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/risa.14248


This article explores how the modeling of energy systems may lead to an undue closure of alternatives by generating an excess of certainty around some of the possible policy options. We retrospectively exemplify the problem with the case of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) global modeling in the 1980s. We discuss different methodologies for quality assessment that may help mitigate this issue, which include Numeral Unit Spread Assessment Pedigree (NUSAP), diagnostic diagrams, and sensitivity auditing (SAUD). We illustrate the potential of these reflexive modeling practices in energy policy‐making with three additional cases: (i) the case of the energy system modeling environment (ESME) for the creation of UK energy policy; (ii) the negative emission technologies (NETs) uptake in integrated assessment models (IAMs); and (iii) the ecological footprint indicator. We encourage modelers to adopt these approaches to achieve more robust, defensible, and inclusive modeling activities in the field of energy research.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering
ID Code:114129
Uncontrolled Keywords:Physiology (medical), Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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