Thursday, October 21, 2010
Universities receive grants to study climate change decisions
The National Science Foundation recently awarded nearly $5 million to four university-based centers whose research focuses on understanding decision making within the context of climate change and other long-term environmental risks.
The awards bring together scholars from many different fields, such as decision science, psychology, economics, geography, atmospheric science, engineering, mathematics and computer science, to identify effective ways to make decisions when both the nature of the problems and the potential impacts of responses are uncertain.
"These centers are taking a novel approach to environmental decision making," said Cheryl Eavey, a program director in NSF's Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SBE) and one of three co-managers of the awards. "Together, they are examining problems in coordinated ways that have not been undertaken in the past, and they are actively working with practitioners and stakeholders to facilitate the use of basic knowledge in practical ways."
These awards were supported by SBE through its Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU) funding opportunity. Comparable levels of support are expected to be provided for the following four years to enable these teams to conduct longer-range, integrated research, education, and outreach activities.
"The DMUU research teams are examining many questions regarding how people and organizations understand climate change and other long-term environmental risks and how those understandings influence their plans to react to changing environmental conditions," said co-manager Thomas Baerwald, senior science advisor in NSF's Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences. "In addition to understanding the varied approaches that are used for different kinds of problems, a special challenge is to understand how effective decisions can be made across a number of environmental policy issues when long-term outcomes are uncertain."
Carnegie-Mellon University, $1,200,006
Title: Center on Climate Decision Making
This distributed interdisciplinary collaborative group will combine knowledge and research methods from behavioral and decision sciences, engineering, and natural science to assist individuals, corporations, governments, and the international community to better address many of the difficult climate decisions they now face. The group's researchers, who are associated with about 10 different organizations, will address a range of topics including decisions about reducing emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy system, decisions related to adapting to the impacts of climate change, issues that arise as a result of interactions between reducing emissions and adapting to change, and dealing with unexpectedly rapid or large changes or impacts.
Article Courtesy of Science News