The aim of this report is to strengthen knowledge about the use of scenarios and scenario planning as tools for climate change adaptation decision making, drawing on the recent experience of Victorian climate adaptation policy makers and practitioners. Production of the report has been funded by the Victorian Government through the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research. This project has also led to the production of a Scenarios for Climate Adaptation Guidebook.
As recent events, such as the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant or the contagious spread of democratic revolutions in the Middle East remind us, we live in an age where predictions and decisions based on the extrapolation of past trends or overly linear mathematical models are likely to be unhelpful, misleading and maladaptive. Successful responses to the escalating risks of climate change therefore require new methodologies for thinking about the future – methodologies which strengthen the potential for imaginative, out‐of‐the‐box thinking about drivers, tipping points and step changes in relation to both the variety of risks we face and the technological and social innovation needed to reduce and address these risks. Scenario planning – the development and use of diverse, plausible stories about how the future will unfold – provides one potentially useful set of tools for achieving this aim.