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Global scenarios of future socio-economic and technological developments paint radically different pictures of the future. Some scenarios describe increasing globalisation, others more regional and local solutions, some scenarios posit consumerism, others emphasise the role of community. How might these scenarios be interpreted at a national scale in Finland? Can they be reconciled with official demographic and economic projections used in decision making?

Summary table

Summary information about the methods used to derive the socio-economic and technological scenarios
Underlying global drivers SRES storylines
Time horizon 21st century
Baseline 1990 and 2000
Methods Expert interviews, analysing material from official and expert documents, utilization of a basic socio-economic modelling framework
Models used IFs for Terra model
Scenario area Finland
Main input data
Output variables Qualitative descriptions, population, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), government expenditure on R&D and education
Output resolution Finland


Global socio-economic scenarios are laid out by the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) which described four scenario families (Nakicenovic, 2000). Each family assumes different global and regional driving forces of global change. They also provide information of e.g. the development of the Finnish population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP); however, this is only derived by down-scaling the world-regional information. The FINSKEN socio-economic scenarios attempt to give a more detailed view into the future in Finland.

Qualitative descriptions of four scenario families for Finland were based on expert interviews and on the review of existing socio-economic scenarios and research documents. Quantifications of some key variables such as population, GDP, and government expenditure on R&D and education, were prepared using a basic socio-economic modelling framework.

The expert interviews included representatives from central areas of Finnish economy and administration. The target of the interviews was to collect ideas of possible development paths not to legitimate certain scenarios or results. The interviews created their own discourses and brought forward certain viewpoints and ideas.

In the construction of the long-term scenarios for the Finnish society, the IPCC scenarios, official futures analyses of the Finnish Government, research documents and expert interviews were used as starting point. In the consistent formation of story lines of long run scenarios we also relied on Uusimaa-Helsinki Metropolitan areas’ official scenario analyses and studies (Uudenmaanliitto & YTV 1997), which were formulated on the basis of large public participation process. On the basis of these futures policy statements and analyses we have constructed interpretations of alternative development paths and the critical drivers of the Finnish society.

In order to operationalise the four basic IPCC scenarios for the Finnish economy, a long-term scenario accounting model is being utilised. As a basic modelling framework we have utilised IFs for Terra model, which has been developed by Barry Hughes (developed in the present form in a EU/IST research project Terra2000).

Literature cited

  • Nakicenovic N. (ed.) 2000. Special Report on Emission Scenarios. A Special Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom.

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Updated 26.02.2004, Stefan Fronzek
Research Programme for Global Change (GTO) | Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)

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