Climate change, uncertainty and transformation

  • Breaching of temporary embankments is common.
    Photo
    Shibaji Bose, STEPS-IIHMR

Uncertainty has emerged as a 'super wicked problem' for scientists and policy makers alike in climate change decision-making.

Climate change uncertainty and transformation

This study hypothesizes that uncertainty in climate change has been narrowly conceptualized from above (by scientists, experts and decision-makers). In doing so, the day-to-day experiences and practices of local people around uncertainty have been ignored, resulting in flawed actions.

Project description

Uncertainties in climate change projections are particularly high and there remains no consensus around how to integrate uncertainty in climate change decision-making. Despite these problems, quantitative assessment (usually based on probabilities and ecological risk assessment) remains at the heart of the scientific method.  This project sees uncertainty as a key barrier to efforts to support social transformation to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. It hypothesizes that uncertainty has been narrowly conceptualized from above (by scientists, experts and decision-makers). In doing so, the day-to-day experiences and practices of local people around uncertainty have been ignored, resulting in flawed actions.

It thus seeks to:

  1. Explore discourses and practices of climate change uncertainty and transformation from 'below' and from 'above' and how they interact in diverse settings in India
  2. Study to what extent the discrepancy between uncertainty understandings is a barrier to social transformation necessary to adapt to climate change
  3. Develop approaches to bridge the different perspectives of uncertainty from 'above' and 'below' in order to foster more productive and socially just ways of dealing with uncertainties and social transformation.

These issues will be examined as they are framed globally and nationally and across different sites in India: a megacity (Mumbai), dryland Kutch and the Sunderbans. The localities offer ecological contrasts, rural-urban/peri urban emphasis and allow us to examine a range of climate change/ uncertainty dynamics. Such an exploration will necessarily have implications for appropriate adaptive strategies and social transformation.

Funded by: Research Council of Norway
Project period: 2015-2017

Partners

  • Noragric, NMBU
  • Institute of Development Studies, IDS
  • NIVA, Norway
  • Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Nazirabad, India
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  • All India Disaster Mitigation Institute
  • Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Dehli, India
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  • University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
  • Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology, Bhuj, India

Noragric participants:

  • Prof. Lyla Mehta
  • Prof. Espen Sjaastad
  • Dr. Darley Kjosavik
  • Dr. Hans Adam

Published 28. April 2014 - 14:00 - Updated 16. June 2017 - 12:04

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Contact us

Contact info

Click above to find
specific contact info.

Visit us