Evaluating the trade-offs between the risks related to climate change, climate change mitigation as well as co-benefits requires an integrated scenarios approach to sustainable development. We outline a conceptual multi-objective framework to assess climate policies that takes into account climate impacts, mitigation costs, water and food availability, technological risks of nuclear energy and carbon capture and sequestration as well as co-benefits of reducing local air pollution and increasing energy security. This framework is then employed as an example to different climate change mitigation scenarios generated with integrated assessment models. Even though some scenarios encompass considerable challenges for sustainability, no scenario performs better or worse than others in all dimensions, pointing to trade-offs between different dimensions of sustainable development. For this reason, we argue that these trade-offs need to be evaluated in a process of public deliberation that includes all relevant social actors.
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