The accountability imperative for quantifying the uncertainty of emission forecasts: evidence from Mexico

Daniel Puig*, Oswaldo Morales-Nápoles, Fatemeh Bakhtiari, Gissela Landa

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Abstract

    © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group Governmental climate change mitigation targets are typically developed with the aid of forecasts of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The robustness and credibility of such forecasts depends, among other issues, on the extent to which forecasting approaches can reflect prevailing uncertainties. We apply a transparent and replicable method to quantify the uncertainty associated with projections of gross domestic product growth rates for Mexico, a key driver of GHG emissions in the country. We use those projections to produce probabilistic forecasts of GHG emissions for Mexico. We contrast our probabilistic forecasts with Mexico’s governmental deterministic forecasts. We show that, because they fail to reflect such key uncertainty, deterministic forecasts are ill-suited for use in target-setting processes. We argue that (i) guidelines should be agreed upon, to ensure that governmental forecasts meet certain minimum transparency and quality standards, and (ii) governments should be held accountable for the appropriateness of the forecasting approach applied to prepare governmental forecasts, especially when those forecasts are used to derive climate change mitigation targets. POLICY INSIGHTSNo minimum transparency and quality standards exist to guide the development of GHG emission scenario forecasts, not even when these forecasts are used to set national climate change mitigation targets.No accountability mechanisms appear to be in place at the national level to ensure that national governments rely on scientifically sound processes to develop GHG emission scenarios.Using probabilistic forecasts to underpin emission reduction targets represents a scientifically sound option for reflecting in the target the uncertainty to which those forecasts are subject, thus increasing the validity of the target.Setting up minimum transparency and quality standards, and holding governments accountable for their choice of forecasting methods could lead to more robust emission reduction targets nationally and, by extension, internationally.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalClimate Policy
    Volume18
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)742-751
    Number of pages10
    ISSN1469-3062
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • Accountability
    • emission-reduction targets
    • gross domestic product growth rates
    • projections
    • structured expert judgement
    • uncertainty

    Cite this

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    title = "The accountability imperative for quantifying the uncertainty of emission forecasts: evidence from Mexico",
    abstract = "{\circledC} 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group Governmental climate change mitigation targets are typically developed with the aid of forecasts of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The robustness and credibility of such forecasts depends, among other issues, on the extent to which forecasting approaches can reflect prevailing uncertainties. We apply a transparent and replicable method to quantify the uncertainty associated with projections of gross domestic product growth rates for Mexico, a key driver of GHG emissions in the country. We use those projections to produce probabilistic forecasts of GHG emissions for Mexico. We contrast our probabilistic forecasts with Mexico’s governmental deterministic forecasts. We show that, because they fail to reflect such key uncertainty, deterministic forecasts are ill-suited for use in target-setting processes. We argue that (i) guidelines should be agreed upon, to ensure that governmental forecasts meet certain minimum transparency and quality standards, and (ii) governments should be held accountable for the appropriateness of the forecasting approach applied to prepare governmental forecasts, especially when those forecasts are used to derive climate change mitigation targets. POLICY INSIGHTSNo minimum transparency and quality standards exist to guide the development of GHG emission scenario forecasts, not even when these forecasts are used to set national climate change mitigation targets.No accountability mechanisms appear to be in place at the national level to ensure that national governments rely on scientifically sound processes to develop GHG emission scenarios.Using probabilistic forecasts to underpin emission reduction targets represents a scientifically sound option for reflecting in the target the uncertainty to which those forecasts are subject, thus increasing the validity of the target.Setting up minimum transparency and quality standards, and holding governments accountable for their choice of forecasting methods could lead to more robust emission reduction targets nationally and, by extension, internationally.",
    keywords = "Accountability, emission-reduction targets, gross domestic product growth rates, projections, structured expert judgement, uncertainty",
    author = "Daniel Puig and Oswaldo Morales-N{\'a}poles and Fatemeh Bakhtiari and Gissela Landa",
    year = "2018",
    doi = "10.1080/14693062.2017.1373623",
    language = "English",
    volume = "18",
    pages = "742--751",
    journal = "Climate Policy",
    issn = "1469-3062",
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    The accountability imperative for quantifying the uncertainty of emission forecasts: evidence from Mexico. / Puig, Daniel; Morales-Nápoles, Oswaldo; Bakhtiari, Fatemeh; Landa, Gissela.

    In: Climate Policy, Vol. 18, No. 6, 2018, p. 742-751.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - The accountability imperative for quantifying the uncertainty of emission forecasts: evidence from Mexico

    AU - Puig, Daniel

    AU - Morales-Nápoles, Oswaldo

    AU - Bakhtiari, Fatemeh

    AU - Landa, Gissela

    PY - 2018

    Y1 - 2018

    N2 - © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group Governmental climate change mitigation targets are typically developed with the aid of forecasts of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The robustness and credibility of such forecasts depends, among other issues, on the extent to which forecasting approaches can reflect prevailing uncertainties. We apply a transparent and replicable method to quantify the uncertainty associated with projections of gross domestic product growth rates for Mexico, a key driver of GHG emissions in the country. We use those projections to produce probabilistic forecasts of GHG emissions for Mexico. We contrast our probabilistic forecasts with Mexico’s governmental deterministic forecasts. We show that, because they fail to reflect such key uncertainty, deterministic forecasts are ill-suited for use in target-setting processes. We argue that (i) guidelines should be agreed upon, to ensure that governmental forecasts meet certain minimum transparency and quality standards, and (ii) governments should be held accountable for the appropriateness of the forecasting approach applied to prepare governmental forecasts, especially when those forecasts are used to derive climate change mitigation targets. POLICY INSIGHTSNo minimum transparency and quality standards exist to guide the development of GHG emission scenario forecasts, not even when these forecasts are used to set national climate change mitigation targets.No accountability mechanisms appear to be in place at the national level to ensure that national governments rely on scientifically sound processes to develop GHG emission scenarios.Using probabilistic forecasts to underpin emission reduction targets represents a scientifically sound option for reflecting in the target the uncertainty to which those forecasts are subject, thus increasing the validity of the target.Setting up minimum transparency and quality standards, and holding governments accountable for their choice of forecasting methods could lead to more robust emission reduction targets nationally and, by extension, internationally.

    AB - © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group Governmental climate change mitigation targets are typically developed with the aid of forecasts of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The robustness and credibility of such forecasts depends, among other issues, on the extent to which forecasting approaches can reflect prevailing uncertainties. We apply a transparent and replicable method to quantify the uncertainty associated with projections of gross domestic product growth rates for Mexico, a key driver of GHG emissions in the country. We use those projections to produce probabilistic forecasts of GHG emissions for Mexico. We contrast our probabilistic forecasts with Mexico’s governmental deterministic forecasts. We show that, because they fail to reflect such key uncertainty, deterministic forecasts are ill-suited for use in target-setting processes. We argue that (i) guidelines should be agreed upon, to ensure that governmental forecasts meet certain minimum transparency and quality standards, and (ii) governments should be held accountable for the appropriateness of the forecasting approach applied to prepare governmental forecasts, especially when those forecasts are used to derive climate change mitigation targets. POLICY INSIGHTSNo minimum transparency and quality standards exist to guide the development of GHG emission scenario forecasts, not even when these forecasts are used to set national climate change mitigation targets.No accountability mechanisms appear to be in place at the national level to ensure that national governments rely on scientifically sound processes to develop GHG emission scenarios.Using probabilistic forecasts to underpin emission reduction targets represents a scientifically sound option for reflecting in the target the uncertainty to which those forecasts are subject, thus increasing the validity of the target.Setting up minimum transparency and quality standards, and holding governments accountable for their choice of forecasting methods could lead to more robust emission reduction targets nationally and, by extension, internationally.

    KW - Accountability

    KW - emission-reduction targets

    KW - gross domestic product growth rates

    KW - projections

    KW - structured expert judgement

    KW - uncertainty

    U2 - 10.1080/14693062.2017.1373623

    DO - 10.1080/14693062.2017.1373623

    M3 - Journal article

    VL - 18

    SP - 742

    EP - 751

    JO - Climate Policy

    JF - Climate Policy

    SN - 1469-3062

    IS - 6

    ER -