Rebecca Sturrock z3314111 Lecture 5 and 6 senarios and alternatives

Gregory, R., Failing, L., Harstone, M., Long, G., McDaniels, T., and Ohlson, D. (2012). Creating Alternatives. In: Gregory et al. (Eds). Structured decision making: a practical guide to environmental management choices. Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester (UK), pp. 150-172.

Reedman, Luke J. and Graham, Paul W. (2013) Transport Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections 2013-2050, Report No. EP139979, CSIRO, Australia.

I decided to look at Gregories chapter on Creating Alternatives and a paper from the CSIRO which looks at scenarios for the transport sector and try to categorise the work they had done into Alternatives. This makes a lot more sense to me now after attending lecture 6 on Scenarios. I was initially confused because the scenarios in the CSIRO paper were not complete and comparable as per the discussion in Gregories chapter on Creating Alternatives. Now I can see that alternatives would be established within each scenario. The Scenario provides different possible future states of the world and each scenario would have several alternatives to choose from.

For the CSIRO paper the Scenarios are defined with four different possible futures:


With this background the four scenarios modelled in this report are as follows:

Central policy scenario — Assumes a world with a 550 ppm stabilisation target and an Australian emission target of a 5 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050

Low price scenario — The same as the central scenario except that the stabilisation target is reached at a later date such that the carbon price is initially lower but converges by 2030

High price scenario — Assumes a world with more ambitious global action and an Australian emission target of a 25 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050

No carbon price scenario – the same global context as the central scenario except that Australia does not participate and there is no domestic carbon price.

Firstly Gregory states that evaluating alternative be a bottom up approach rather than top town. First establish the nature of the problem , then set specific objectives that put the problem into context, with explicit performance measures that can be used to measure and asses alternatives .

CSIRO states it compares alternatives for non-road transport mode in both bottom up and top down approaches page 17:

3.1 Non-road transport modes: projection methodology

This section describes the approach taken by CSIRO to model the non-road transport modes in the context of integrated bottom-up and top-down transport sector emissions projection modelling.

Gregory states alternatives are often established from value judgements by people that are trying to provide decision makers with different recommendations.  Alternatives offer solutions through a set of choices.  The different alternatives should provide good information and details on how they will affect the fundamental objectives.

CSIRO discusses key assumptions they have taken into account for the Transport Demand Sector on page 13

Gregory discusses ways of analysing data and Developing alternatives

Brainstorm a range of potential responses

  • lists objectives and identifies actions that satisfies each concern
  • allow and encourage a creative, no-boundaries, value-focused exploration of a wide range of ideas

Organise actions into complete alternatives for developing strategies

  • combine a long list of potential solutions into complete and comparable alternatives.
  • score and rank individual actions or elements and then select the top ranking ones
  • combine the ingredients into logical combinations, themes
  • Strategy table
  • Sequenced strategies temporal aspect

CSIRO paper provides examples  (I am sorry the tables will not copy into the blog)

  1.  ranking page 16 Ranking of surveyed factors considered in buying a vehicle from ABS (2009)

2. categorising into logical combinations and themes page 17 Changes in preferences for road vehicle types and sizes, FCAI (2011)

3. Sequenced table page 19 Sequenced table 19 CSIRO average light vehicle fuel efficiency improvements inclusive of uptake of alternative vehicle drivetrains (percent per annum

The CSIRO paper also discusses many of the other points in Gregories Chapter and provides many tables for data analysis.

Gregory also discusses

Interatively improve alternatives

  • New ideas come from learning gained
  • Understanding trade-offs, how many objectives to does an alternative meet
  • Create a consequences table

Dealing with constraints

  • keep alternatives realistic, manageable, administrative, policy or resource driven
  • technically possible and will perform well
  • economically attractive
  • practical and will get support

Common pitfalls and traps – psychological, cognitive and behavioural traps

Anchoring and tweaking – making minor incremental changes such as increasing the number of lanes on a road or extending existing rail

Accepting constraints – value judgements eg high speed rail

Linking alternatives to labels –

Relying on sunk costs – justifying past decisions, road and rail infrastructure. Also the constraint to change distribution outlets and networks for different fuels or electricity

Avoiding tradeoffs – it is to controversial – consider  the discussion going on regarding where Sydney can have a new airport. if we compared the cost of an airport both financial, social and environmental vs developing high speed rail in the future to reduce airport congestion

Quitting to soon – policy assumptions and constraints

Not knowing when to quit

2 Comments Add yours

  1. iest5003blog says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    I’ve had a look over your blog posts are they are informative and well written.

    My advice to strengthen your posts would be to focus less on the inclusion of content from the lectures/readings and focus more on your own perspective about a particular topic/issue that was brought up during the week. E.g. for your CSIRO example, rather than posting all of the information, you could just provide a link to the report and instead comment on the pros and cons of scenario planning in the context of the transport sector.

    I’ve included the Content and Creativity section of the marking Rubric (page 5 of the blog assessment sheet on Moodle) below for you in case you would like to review the criteria:

    Postings provide comprehensive insight, understanding, and reflective thought about the topic by
    – building a focused argument around a specific issue; or
    – asking a new related question; or
    – making an oppositional statement supported by personal experience or related research

    Postings present a focused and cohesive viewpoint that is substantiated by effective supporting examples or links to relevant, up-to-date websites or documents that enhance the information presented.

    Let me know if you have any questions.



    1. beckoreilly says:

      Thanks for the feedback Eliza, I will try to include more of my own perspective in the following posts. Good points

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