Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wicked Problem

Today's presentation on the Science on Global Problem Area: Energy & Climate Change by IIASA highlighted their second strategic research plan stream. Climate change was described as a "wicked problem": messy problem with different definitions, no single solution. Officially a "wicked problem" is a phrase used in social planning to describe a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems. I think its appropriate.

ENE (Energy Program) presented the current energy challenges. There is a growing demand for energy services (globally) that are reliable and has a secure supply. There are currently 2 billion people with access to energy sources. IIASA is looking at energy policies, savings and options available. There is a Global Energy Assessment will be released next year of which IIASA is a coordinator and author. Should be an interesting coffee table book :) The slide comes from the presentation given and highlights just how many factors one needs to consider and all the complexity of integrated assessments.

APD (Atmospheric Pollution and Economic Development Program) reviewed how costly/ambitious the Annex I Mitigation Pledges are and are they comparable between Parties? The costs of these pledges range from -0.3% to 0.1% of the GDP of each country at 2020. It seems the Ukraine has the highest cost saving but New Zealand seem to be losing out.

RAV (Risk and Vulnerability)
Anthony Patt of the Decisions and Governance Group within RAV revealed the two paths within RAV, adaptation and mitigation. One study of interest to me was done on Mozambique and its disasters. Using two different techniques; linear extrapolation of current trends and coupled-model ensemble projections they looked at disaster frequency. Interestingly enough the ensemble model projections show that Mozambique isn't going to have an increase in disaster frequency but the statistical models do show an increase...what/who do you believe? The picture on the left is taken from the cover of Options Magazine, a presentation of IIASA and its research to a non-specialist audience. The last issue talks about looking beyond Copenhagen and the current issue explores Green growth.

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