When it comes to future, we don’t have enough tools to predict it with precision. But we can always prepare for it. This holds true in the case of climate change. We are all aware of the fact that climate change has been induced by human activity. As far as the future impact of climate change is concerned, none of us knows what to expect. We have no idea about the severity either. But we cannot use this uncertainty as an excuse for doing nothing on this front. It is high time for policymakers and all other important parties to come together and accept the facts. Time has come for us to come up with best plans to mitigate climate change in the most effective manner.
Dealing with the uncertainty
When it comes to the decisions of planners and policymakers, there are ways to incorporate uncertainty into it.
There are two approaches one can adopt here. The first one is called ‘resilient’ and the second one is called ‘adaptive’. We are going to see the case of resilient approach first. The resilient approach involves technique like RDM (Robust Decision Making), which is an analytic methodology. Planners can make use of RDM. They can use this to come up with the ideal strategies in the case of future scenarios. For instance, you can use RDM probability models to predict the duration of drought in a certain area. As a result, you will be well prepared in advance before the scenario occurs.
Now we will examine the case of an adaptive approach. Here we are referring to a more flexible approach. Adaptive approach responds to the triggers. And you will be able to modify it in the wake of a new event. The adaptive approach takes advantage of the Iterative Risk Management technique. This particular technique makes it possible for you to come up with reversible and flexible decision-making. You can go with these decisions even when there is no clarity regarding the thresholds and risks. We can take the example of Thames Estuary 2100 project here. We are talking about the flood happened in 1953. This made way for the huge loss of property and life. Planners came up a system which offered flexible protection. It is one of the best examples to highlight the significance of this approach.
Things to consider when dealing with uncertainty
Let’s take a look at the 4 most important things to consider when it comes to dealing with uncertainty.
- Awareness – First and foremost, you have to acknowledge the fact that uncertainty exists. You need to discuss it with the relevant people. As far as uncertainty is concerned, it is hard to measure and perceive. But that doesn’t mean that uncertainty is non-existent. It should never be the cause of inaction from your side. For instance, we are all aware of the fact that dams usually have a 50-year lifespan. Given that, one needs to act before it is too late.
- Flexibility – Flexibility is an extremely important factor you need to consider. The solution must be adaptive and dynamic as things keep changing all the time. It holds especially true in the case of climate change. One needs to respond as quickly as possible. Whether it is evacuating people or strengthening the dam, you need to act fast. Being flexible in scenarios like these will be a big plus.
- Robustness – When it comes to creating an effective climate strategy, you need to make sure that it is robust enough. It should be able to withstand all sorts of pressures.
- Context –Cultural norms, circumstances and local realities play a big part when it comes to dealing with climate change. Or in other words, context is extremely important.
More research is needed to be done to come up with better ways to incorporate uncertainty into decision making.