IAS Fellow's Seminar
Speaker: Lev Tarasov
Title: Environmental complexity, uncertainty, and societal response: an interdisciplinary dialogue
Chair: Colin Bain
The climate system and most environmental systems have inherent fundamental uncertainties. Potential changes in such complex systems can have high socio-economic impacts. Yet societal response to such risk is at best inadequate. I will offer a short presentation summarizing, by way of example, the categorical sources of uncertainty in the earth/climate system, the challenges in quantifying some of those uncertainties, and a few thoughts (from the perspective of an Earth System's scientist) on the implications of these uncertainties.
The intent of this presentation is to set the context for an interdisciplinary discussion as per the title. Questions I would like to see addressed include: 1) how have different societies (past and present) dealt with deep uncertainties associated with complex systems? What can the humanities offer in terms of our evolving understandings and capacities to deal with complexity? What guidance is there from the social and political sciences on improving societal capacity to intelligently deal with complex environmental issues? How does the relationship between science and society need to change?