Near-Term Actions to Address Long-Term Climate Risk

Friday, 19 December 2014: 4:10 PM
Robert J Lempert, RAND, Santa Monica, CA, United States
Addressing climate change requires effective long-term policy making, which occurs when reflecting on potential events decades or more in the future causes policy makers to choose near-term actions different than those they would otherwise pursue. Contrary to some expectations, policy makers do sometimes make such long-term decisions, but not as commonly and successfully as climate change may require. In recent years however, the new capabilities of analytic decision support tools, combined with improved understanding of cognitive and organizational behaviors, has significantly improved the methods available for organizations to manage longer-term climate risks. In particular, these tools allow decision makers to understand what near-term actions consistently contribute to achieving both short- and long-term societal goals, even in the face of deep uncertainty regarding the long-term future. This talk will describe applications of these approaches for infrastructure, water, and flood risk management planning, as well as studies of how near-term choices about policy architectures can affect long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction pathways.