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Program

Date: 13th - 17th October, 2014

Program

 

Time

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

9.00 – 12.30

 

(including coffee break)

 Welcome & Introduction

(15 minutes)

 

 

Facts, values and power: What role for the sciences in policy?

 

 

(Dr. Martin Kowarsch)

 

Risks and Rights



 

 

 

(Dr. Dominic Roser)

 

 

Econometrics



 

 

 

(Dr. Dogan Keles,
Dr. Patrick Plötz)

 

 

Understanding, managing und communicating uncertainties: a risk governance approach

 

(Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn)

begins at 9.30! 


Scientific policy-advice under (deep) uncertainty – The case of energy scenarios

 

 

(Christian Dieckhoff)

 


The Adverbial Analysis of Precaution

 

 

 

(Dr. Per Sandin)

12.30 – 14.00

Lunch

Lunch

Lunch

Lunch

Lunch

14.00 – (max) 18.30

 

(including coffee breaks)

 

Pending

 

 

 

 

(Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs)

 

 

Values in socio-environmental modelling: Persuasion for action or excuse for inaction


(Prof. Dr. Alexey Voinov)

 

 

Group Discussion

 

 

 

Uncertainty Communication in a Policy Environment



 

(Dr. Christian Kirchsteiger)

 

Wrap up and Closing session

(ends at 15.30)

 

time for individual reading/working

 

 

Poster Session


Plenum Discussion

 

 

Further information about the sessions

Monday

9.00-9.15 Welcome & Introduction

9.15 - 12.30: Scientific policy-advice under (deep) uncertainty – The case of energy scenarios (Christian Dieckhoff)

 

This session introduces into the Autumn School’s topic of energy scenarios as a case of scientific policy-advice under deep uncertainties. A first it will be clarified, what energy scenarios are (about), leading to the identification of major challenges of understanding an interpreting them. To meet these aims, in a second step an analytical framework will be developed. Here we will especially clarify, how scenarios can be understood as possibility statements and what this implies for their use in policy advice. As one of the most important studies worldwide the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2013 will serve as the case to be studied in this session. The participants will be provided with the study and will be given tasks to analyze a number of aspects of it. 

 

Tuesday

9.00 - 12.30: Facts, values and power: What role for the sciences in policy? (Dr. Martin Kowarsch)

How can scientific reports on disputed and complex energy policy be policy-relevant without being policy-prescriptive? The predominant technocratic and decisionist models of the adequate role of science in policy misleadingly assume that value-neutral scientific recommendations for public policy means, or even objectives, are possible. As the literature from science and technology studies shows, this often leads to a misguided use or even misuse of scientific authority in the policy realm; experts can become "stealth issue advocates." On the other end of the spectrum, the literature on democratic, participatory and pragmatic models of expertise in policy often does not satisfactorily explain what researchers can contribute to public discourses surrounding disputed, value-laden policy objectives and means. Building on John Dewey’s philosophy, an alternative approach called the “pragmatic-enlightened model” (PEM) is finally discussed in this session that refines the existing pragmatic models. According to the PEM’s policy assessment methodology, policy objectives and their means can only be evaluated in light of the practical consequences of the means. Learning about the secondary effects, side effects and synergies of the best means may require a revaluation of the policy objectives. Following the PEM, assessments would—based on a thorough problem analysis—explore alternative policy pathways, including their diverse practical consequences, overlaps and trade-offs, in cooperation with stakeholders. Such an arduous interdisciplinary cartography of multiple objectives, multi-functional policy means and the broad range of their quantitative and qualitative practical consequences may, however, face considerable practical challenges and uncertainty.

 

14.00 - 17.30: Values in socio-environmental modelling: Persuasion for action or excuse for inaction (Prof. Dr. Alexey Voinov)

Science in general and modelling in particular provide in-depth understanding of environmental processes and clearly demonstrate the present unsustainable use of resources on a global scale. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for instance, shows that climate is changing and with a 95% certainty it is the humans have caused the change. The future climatic conditions are shown to be largely adversely affecting human wellbeing on this planet. Yet we see in numerous examples that societies are very slow in reacting to this rapid depletion of natural resources. What still seems lacking is the translation of scientific reports and the results of analysis and modelling into corrective actions. We argue that one of the reasons for this is the traditional workflow of environmental modelling, which starts with the purpose, the goal formulation, and ends with problem solutions or decision support tools. Instead, modelling, and applied science in general, has to enhance its scope beyond the problem solving stage, to do more on the problem definition and solution implementation phases. Modelling can be also used for identification of societal values and for setting purposes by appropriate communication of the modelling process and results. We believe this new approach for modelling can impact and bring the social values to the forefront of socio-environmental debate and hence turn scientific results into actions sooner rather than later. Instead of being separated from the modelling process, the translation of results should be an intrinsic part of it. We discuss several challenges for recent socio-environmental modelling and conclude with ten propositions that modellers and scientists in general can follow to improve their communication with the society and produce results that can be understood and used to improve awareness and education and spur action.

Suggested literature: Voinov, A., Seppelt, R., Reis, S., Nabel, J. and Shokravi, S. 2014: Values in socio-environmental modelling: Persuasion for action or excuse for inaction, Environmental Modelling and Software 53 (2014), 207-212.

Wednesday

9.00 - 10.45 Risks and Rights (Dr. Dominic Roser)

 

The rough idea is to show, why a consequential approach (like in the so called decision theory) is equally interested in "downside risks" and "upside risks", while a deontological approach focusses more on "downside risks". It will also be discussed to what extent a consequential and a deontological approach reflect the intuitions which are the basis of the precautionary principle. Furthermore it will be reflected to what extent these approaches involve probability attributions and how problematic such probability attributions are.

 

10.45 - 12.30: The Adverbial Analysis of Precaution (Dr. Per Sandin)

 

The session provides an overview of the debate about the precautionary principle.

Thursday

9.00 - 12.30: Econometrics (Dr. Dogan Keles, Dr. Patrick Plötz)

The session may be divided into three sequential sub-sessions

  • Part A (1 hour): Standard lecture given by a professor.
  • Part B (1,5 hours): Case study (energy-related) presented and analysed by the lecturer.
  • Part C (0,5 hours): Interactive discussion between the lecturer and the participants.

The main objectives of the session are:

 

  1. To introduce econometrics as a modelling approach.
  2. To illustrate the use of econometric modelling in the context of energy scenarios.
  3. To understand common econometric problems arising in applied modelling work as well as the key criteria econometric models need to meet.
  4. To discuss the validity and usefulness of econometric results for scientific policy advice to decision-makers.

More specific information concerning the contents of the session:

Part A:

1. Introduction to econometrics, types of economic data and econometric models.

  • Definition of econometrics and purpose
  • Cross-sectional, time series and panel data
  • Deterministic versus stochastic economic models
  • Linear versus nonlinear models

2. Basics of least squares.

  • OLS estimator
  • Classical linear regression model
  • Classical assumptions and violations

3. Fundamentals of applied time series econometrics.

  • Description of the standard modelling process
  • Identification of common modelling problems (e.g. stationarity) and potential solutions

4. Fundamentals of applied panel data econometrics.

  • Description of the standard modelling process
  • Identification of common problems (e.g. weak p-values) and potential solutions

 

Part B Case study (title yet to be chosen).

  1. Introduction to the case study [to be read by the participants (desirably in advance)].
  2. Description of the modelling approach and process.
  3. Explanation of key econometric problems encountered and how they were overcome.
  4. Presentation of the applied econometric model (incl. main assumptions) and results.

 

 

 

14.00 - 18.30: Uncertainty Communication in a Policy Environment (Dr. Christian Kirchsteiger)

Format: (draft version)

  • "Classical" lecture on general background and current energy policy (30 min)
  • Task 1: Students prepare "internal briefing" on the results of both reports with regard to main current energy policy lines (30 min)
  • Students presentations & joint discussion (30 min)
  • Task 2: Students prepare "external press release" on the results of both reports with regard to main current energy policy lines (30 min)
  • Students presentations & joint discussion (30 min)
  • Summary discussion (30 min)
Homework for participants before the session
  • Students receive about 1 week before lecture 1 energy scenario report ("scenario A") and 1 report comparing different energy scenarios, including scenario A.
  • Students individually read both reports and prepare a summary note on each report

 

Friday

9.30 - 12.30: Understanding, managing und communicating uncertainties: a risk governance approach (Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn)

Complex risk situations are characterized by different kind of uncertainties and ambiguities. These uncertainties and ambiguities are often difficult to identify and even more difficult to quantify. Quantification is often inappropriate because the evidence does not allow such a precision. At the same time, these risks need to be assessed, managed and communicated. The paper will address the major dimensions of uncertainty and advocate a multiple layer approach to dealing with uncertainty. The main idea is to separate statistical uncertainty from genuine stochastic processes and context dependencies. Each of these layers would need different assessment, management and communication approaches.