Energy - Multi Criteria Analysis (ENE-MCA) Policy Tool

This interactive policy analysis tool has been developed at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in support of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA). Two of IIASA's research programs - Energy and Advanced Systems Analysis - have collaborated extensively in order to bring the software to fruition. Financial support for software development was provided by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (GF/GLO/10/004, 16002078), as well as the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth.

The central purpose of the tool is to aid decision makers in their assessments of future policy choices and how those choices impact the multiple dimensions of energy sustainability. The tool has been specifically designed for policy advice and the communication of scenario results, allowing users to visualize the complex (and not always obvious) synergies and trade-offs of specific policy choices and to better understand how varying the prioritization of the multiple energy sustainability objectives can lead to qualitatively different energy system futures.

The ENE-MCA tool was introduced to the scientific community in the journals Nature Climate Change (McCollum et al., 2011) and Climatic Change (McCollum et al., 2013).

A brief tutorial on the use of the policy tool can be found below. If you experience any technical problems, please contact the ENE-MCA Policy Tool Administrator.

Navigating the Website

Toward the top of the browser window, several navigation tabs are found. These tabs are described in more detail below.


Provides information about the policy tool and this website, as well as some instructions on how to use them.


Webpage where users can find the actual policy tool.


Further information on the analytical methods underlying the policy tool.

How to Use the Policy Tool

Users Manual

A brief users manual for the ENE-MCA tool can be found here.

Quick-Start Guide

(1) Click on the Tool tab at the top of the page.

(2) Move the positions of the slider bars in order to alter the relative prioritization of the various objectives for energy sustainability.

(3) Click on the indicator tabs to view results for the single energy scenario that best satisfies the current set of user-defined priority rankings.

Extended Discussion

The ENE-MCA policy tool is easy to use and requires no previous knowledge of either energy-climate scenario modeling or multi-criteria analysis methods. That being said, it does assume at least a modest familiarity with the pressing global energy and environmental challenges currently facing society, as well as the potential solutions to these problems.

Users must only specify which of the objectives for energy sustainability are more important and which are less important. Such a ranking structure may reflect the actual views of the user, but it need not. Users can simply "play around" with different combinations of priority rankings, in order to gain an improved understanding of the complex synergies and trade-offs between the objectives. For each combination of user-defined priority rankings, the tool selects a single scenario for global energy system development that best satisifies the specified preferences.

A rich ensemble of more than 600 scenarios underlies the policy tool. These scenarios stretch the potential development of the global energy system in a number of different directions, in terms of which energy objectives are met or not met. The scenarios have been developed using MESSAGE (a global energy system model) and MAGICC (a global climate model). Selection of the "best" scenario for a given set of preferences is made based on the concept of Pareto optimality; this scenario is chosen using advanced multi-criteria analysis techniques. [See the Documentation tab for further information.]

For each selected scenario, the tool provides a wealth of information to the user. For example, one can analyze how the energy system could potentially develop over the course of the century (i.e., what supply technologies might be used), what the impacts of this development path could be (in terms of climate change, air pollution human health effects, and energy security), and how much all of it could cost.

At the present time, the policy tool focuses its analysis at the global level, and it only considers the following objectives for energy sustainability: Climate Change, Energy Security, Air Pollution and Health, and Costs/Affordability. Future work will concentrate on different regional scales, as well as bringing additional objectives under consideration. Importantly, Energy Access is at the moment not one of the objectives being analyzed, at least not explicity. It should be noted, however, that all of the scenarios in the underlying ensemble have been designed to achieve near-universal access to modern energy supplies (electricity and cooking fuels) by 2030.

ENE-MCA Policy Tool, 2011
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Responsible for this page: ENE-MCA Policy Tool Administrator