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Energies | Environnement | Science & société

Ecole de Physique des Houches 2024

Du 24/06/2024 au 28/06/2024
Les Houches


From Modeling to Strategic Decision-Making Facing Planetary Boundaries: Issues and Challenges of a Multi-Disciplinary Approach

As a range of planetary boundaries are crossed, human societies face new challenges to adapt to a radically different and uncertain future, and to anticipate - and implement - the deep transformations required, such as the shift to zero-emission energy technologies and the phasing out of fossil fuels.

Facing these challenges requires us to question existing modeling tools - and the scenarios they underpin - and the methods at our disposal to provide insights into the future and enable decision makers to implement ambitious, adequate and virtuous actions. 

Responding to these challenges necessarily involves a range of academic disciplines and opens up new questions and areas of research:

The systemic nature of these challenges requires the use of models to adequately describe the interactions between human activities and the environment, as well as their potential evolution. The way in which these models are built and function itself leads to a range of questions related to their underlying dynamics, the coherence of physical and macroeconomical loopbacks, the ways in which they apprehend environmental changes, as well as questions around calibration and transparency.

Many public and private actors use scenarios - often based on such models - to explore the future and their potential actions. The processes through which these scenarios are built, what and how information is used to drive them, and how they are used, also needs exploring.

Organisations face an increasingly uncertain and turbulent future and this must be reflected in their strategic decision making processes. It is crucial to explore how these decision making processes can better reflect present and future challenges for public and private actors to accelerate their actions in consequence. 

The aim of this seminar is to enable participants to take a step back regarding decision making tools (models, scenarios, management sciences) in the context of the radically different future we face in the anthropocene, and to explore opportunities for an appropriate evolution of these tools and their uses. 

In particular, the week seeks to explore how they can better integrate physical constraints (e.g. the necessity to first invest energy in order to harvest some more), systemics, social sciences and the uncertainties linked to the disruption of planetary equilibria. This can only be achieved by exploring in a multidisciplinary way the traditional modeling, scenario building and decision making tools of public and private organisations, in order to build bridges between disciplines and facilitate recommendations and actions.​

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