by Judith Curry
What can public and private decisionmakers learn from a wide-ranging look at the social sciences and the issue of human choice and climate change that illuminates the evaluation of policy goals, implementation strategies, and choices about paths forward?
Bill Hooke has another gem of a post on his blog Living on the Real World entitled Human choice and climate change.
Hooke refers specifically to a document “Ten suggestions for policy makers“, with the subtitle “Guidelines from an international social science assessment of human choice and climate change.” The document, written by Steve Rayner and Elizabeth Malone in 1997, is a version of the final chapter in Human Choice and Climate Change, a four volume assessment of the social science research relevant to global climate change.
Here is the punchline of the document, from Bill Hooke’s post:
“At present, proposed policies are heavily focused on the development and implementation of intergovernmental agreements on immediate emissions reductions. In the spirit of cognitive and analytic pluralism that has guided the creation of Human choice and climate change, we look beyond the present policy priorities to see if there are adjustments, or even wholesale changes, to the present course that could be made on the basis of a social science perspective. To this end we offer ten suggestions to complement and challenge existing approaches to public and private sector decisionmaking:
1. View the issue of climate change holistically, not just as the problem of emissions reductions.
2. Recognize that, for climate policymaking, institutional limits to global sustainability are at least as important as environmental limits.
3. Prepare for the likelihood that social, economic, and technological change will be more rapid and have greater direct impacts on human populations than climate change.
4. Recognize the limits of rational planning.
5. Employ the full range of analytical perspectives and decision aids from natural and social sciences and the humanities in climate change policymaking.
6. Design policy instruments for real world conditions rather than try to make the world conform to a particular policy model.
7. Incorporate climate change into other more immediate issues, such as employment, defense, economic development, and public health.
8. Take a regional and local approach to climate policymaking and implementation.
9. Direct resources into identifying vulnerability and promoting resilience, especially where the impacts will be largest.
10. Use a pluralistic approach to decision-making. ”
Wow, this is just too sensible for words. Too bad nobody(?) seems to have paid attention to this back in 1997 (or since). Its difficult to imagine such sensible ideas emerging from today’s currently hyperpoliticized situation.