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Backcasting scenarios for Finland 2050 of low emissions

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PurposeThe objective of this paper is to present an example on how futures studies methodologies, especially backcasting, can be used to assist public policy formulation. Backcasting is particularly interesting method in this context, since it allows the key characteristics concerning the state of the future to be fixed according to the goals policymakers have set to achieve. Design/methodology/approachThe paper is a case study presenting the goals, progression and the results of the backcasting exercise of the Finnish Prime Minister's Office. FindingsThe backcasting methodology, as applied in the exercise presented in this paper, is a useful tool in public policy formulation. It is important to note, however, that in the way the exercise was carried out in this case, it is only possible to view future development through qualitative arguments. The key element for successful application of the method is the choice of expert group that produces the information. Originality/valueEven though backcasting seems to be very well suited for discussing and designing alternative ways of achieving predetermined policy goals, experiences of using this methodology in the policy context are quite rare in the scientific literature. This paper addresses this deficiency and presents experiences of one such case. These experiences should be of interest to those involved in long-range strategy planning.

Keywords: Delphi method; Environmental politics; Forecasting; Government policy; Scenario planning; Strategic planning; Sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-07-20

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