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Scenario Thinking to Solve Complex Environmental Problems Talk for ISSS Meeting Steve Carpenter Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin

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Presentation on theme: "Scenario Thinking to Solve Complex Environmental Problems Talk for ISSS Meeting Steve Carpenter Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin"— Presentation transcript:

1 Scenario Thinking to Solve Complex Environmental Problems Talk for ISSS Meeting Steve Carpenter Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin srcarpen@wisc.edu

2 Scenario thinking solves complex environmental problems.

3 Topics: Recognized Uncertainties, Imaginable Outcomes, and Unasked Questions Scenarios Summary, Gaps, Needs

4 Topics: Recognized Uncertainties, Imaginable Outcomes, and Unasked Questions Scenarios Summary, Gaps, Needs

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6 http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/apr/14/research.science2 See also Martin Rees, Our Final Century (Europe) or Our Final Hour (U.S.) Evaluations of World-Ending Disasters: Disaster Danger Score (1=low, 10=high) Probability Terrorism2Very High Viral Pandemic3Very High Radiation from Supernova4Once per 150M years Meteorite Impact5Medium Climate Change6High Super Volcanoes70.15% per Century Global Nuclear War8Low Telomere Erosion8Low Super-Robots Take Over8 Low (high probability of having the robots) Earth Swallowed by Black Hole10Very Low Overall chance of humanity making it to 2100: ~ 50:50

7 Effect of Knowledge on Probability of Extreme Events

8 Focus on Student-t Tails Probability Deviation Effect of Knowledge on Probability of Extreme Events

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10 Dry, Windy Soil erosion Dust storms Dust Bowl – North America, 1930s Cultivation of Marginal Land Peters, D. P. C., R. A. Pielke, Sr, B. T. Bestelmeyer, C. D. Allen, S. Munson-McGee, and K. M. Havstad. 2004. Cross scale interactions, nonlinearities, and forecasting catastrophic events. Proceedings National Academy Sciences 101:15130-15135.

11 All Possible Futures Recognized Uncertainties Based on Carpenter, Bennett, & Peterson., 2006, Ecology & Society http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss1/art29/ Unasked Questions Models & Observations

12 All Possible Futures Recognized Uncertainties Based on Carpenter, Bennett, & Peterson., 2006, Ecology & Society http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss1/art29/ Unasked Questions Models & Observations Imaginable Outcomes

13 Topics: Recognized Uncertainties, Imaginable Outcomes, and Unasked Questions Scenarios Summary, Gaps, Needs

14 The WorldLots of Perspectives

15 Carpenter, Folke, Scheffer, Westley, unpublished manuscript

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17 Salvador Dali, “Still Life Moving Fast”

18 Sample Perspectives Cluster the Samples Condense to a few Scenarios

19 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment http://www.MAweb.org

20 Cork, S. J., G. D. Peterson, E. M. Bennett, G. Petschel-Held, and M. Zurek. 2006. Synthesis of the storylines. Ecology and Society 11(2): 11. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss2/art11/ (Art by Pille Bunnell for the M.A.)

21 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment http://www.MAweb.org Process for Combining Multiple Models

22 Cost to replace failing infrastructure in the U.S.: $1.6 trillion Collapsed bridge, Minnesota, 2007

23 Topics: Recognized Uncertainties, Imaginable Outcomes, and Unasked Questions Scenarios Summary, Gaps, Needs

24 Summary Scenario processes provide: Playful, inventive thinking about the future Positive stories Blunt warnings Shadow networks Diverse people thinking together

25 GAPS People Institutions Structured Processes Information Tools

26 Education Shadow Networks Ongoing Assessments of Planetary Life-Support NEEDS

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