The idea that ecosystem services are essential for human well-being is increasingly embedded in policy at local, national and global scales – for example through the UK’s National Ecosystem Assessment. To better understand the provision of ecosystem services and associated natural capital in the future, a number of studies have developed scenarios that explore drivers of change and implications for the delivery of ecosystem services across a range of possible futures, and to provide a tool to engage with stakeholders and develop responses to challenges that the scenarios raise.

Scenarios have also been widely used in the energy domain to explore alternate future pathways of energy system change. However, it is unclear to what extent scenarios focusing on ecosystem services and natural capital make plausible assumptions about the development of energy systems – and vice versa.

This project is conducting a systematic review of the literature on environmental and ecosystem services scenarios with the aim of identifing key features of these scenarios and to assess their compatibility with energy system scenarios. This analysis will draw on the Pathway Development project in this programme, and will inform future UKERC scenario development activities. It is a collaboration with the UKERC Technology and Policy Assessment programme and further information and outputs can be found on the Energy Pathways and Valuing Natural Capital project page.

Associated papers

Do energy scenarios pay sufficient attention to the environment? Lessons from the UK to support improved policy outcomes  – Hooper et al, 2018

Incorporating ecosystem services into the design of future energy systems – Holland et al, 2018