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ENVIROGRIDS - four scenarios

Four scenarios have been investigated according to plausible alternative storylines
within ENVIROGRIDS. These scenarios were based on a coherent set of assumptions that take into account future demography, climate and land use.

The approach developed within the project was based on the following assessments:

  • Downscaling total and urban population at regional level: total and urban population as well as total and urban population growths at subnational level were harmonized and recalculated to match respectively with UN world population prospect (WPP) and with UN world urbanization prospect (WUP) for the 2001-2010 period.
  • Downscaling population projections at regional level: these projections were based on the “regional share”, i.e. on variations of populations between regions within the same country. This approach was undertaken because of the scarcity of data at regional level. As a result, projections with regard to urban and total population for the period 2010-2050 have been compiled.
  • Urban land cover projections: trends have shown a decrease of population density (except Istanbul and Wien, where space is limited). Urban areas have expanded by 78% since the mid-50s whereas population has grown by 33%.

According to these projections, the following four regional scenarios for the Black Sea catchment have been established.

“HOT” scenario: in this scenario, the highest economic growth was assumed, leading to huge environmental pressures in the Basin: greenhouse gas emissions, which could be partially alleviated by novel technologies, would increase. Strong urbanization, due to population movement from rural towards urban areas, would entail a decline of agricultural areas. As a consequence of urban population growth, high economic growth would lead to a larger use of space per person and growth in both industry and services sectors.

“ALONE” scenario: here, lower trade levels and regionally oriented economic growth have been stated. Strong competition between agriculture and urban areas would arise. In this scenario, there would be considerable deforestation and nature conservation would only take place within already existing protected areas. The increase of urban areas, mostly due to economic prosperity, would be characterized by sprawl around existing urban areas and development of urban areas in touristic regions.

“COOP” scenario: this scenario was characterized by high economic growth with low increase of population. Here, economic and environmental challenges would be addressed in a global way. Economic growth rates disparities between countries were lower than in the “HOT” scenario. Global environmental policies would be set up to eliminate the rise of greenhouse gases and afforestation strongly supported.  As a result, croplands’ surfaces would decrease and abandoned land would be converted into natural protected areas. The extension of urban areas would be limited due to rigorous spatial policies.

“COOL” scenario: in this scenario, a combination of intermediate economic growth and medium population growth has been considered. Due to this small population increase, urbanization growth would be low and both agricultural and forest areas would remain almost unchanged. The main modification in this scenario would consist in the conversion from cropland to grassland.

 

Source: EnviroGrids – Policy Brief no. 3. March 2012.