Archive for October, 2007

Climate Management 101 — 4. Organizing or Not (Open Source?)

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Climate Management 101 — 4. Organizing or Not (Open Source?)

In this series I have maintained that there is a need for a sustained management of the climate. The global scale of the problem of controlling greenhouse gas emissions, the exceedingly long time scale before there are realizable benefits from our actions, the fact that the climate change problem is strongly correlated with energy consumption and societal success – these and an array of similarly enormous factors both demand and defy management.

Climate change is to a good approximation a problem of energy consumption. Energy resources are stressed, and there is growing energy-related stress on the economy and national security. The energy problem is urgent and immediate and will demand attention. It is possible to address the urgency of the energy demand and to make the climate problem worse – i.e. coal. It is possible to develop the illusion of addressing the energy problem while at the same time addressing the climate problem – i.e. corn ethanol. The climate change and energy use problems are correlated, but their solutions are not. Therefore, if we are going to address the climate change problem, then we need to define our goals and to manage towards those goals. (more…)


Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Readers of may remember a four-volume assessment of the social science research relevant to global climate change that appeared about a decade ago, entitled Human choice and climate change, edited by Steve Rayner and Elizabeth L. Malone. If not, here’s a bit of background. This was a truly extraordinary effort, centered on a Vancouver meeting in 1997, and involving more than one hundred contributors. Especially intriguing was a small satellite document issued with the assessment entitled “Ten suggestions for policymakers.” To quote Rayner and Malone:

“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? 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: (more…)