Societal Decision Making Science Theme

This science theme focuses on developing frameworks for decision making under risk, uncertainty, and ignorance, and competing priorities and perspectives.

Main questions include the governance process, its mechanism and coordination, as well as ethical dimensions on decision making and moral hazards in their discussion. Key questions include how to achieve consensus if global approaches are to be applied and what would happen if there is no consensus, and who should decide? There is a need for holistic research to inform policy makers, starting from initial scenario design towards modeling, field studies, and impact assessment to identify the costs, benefits, and risks, and the role of a portfolio of climate intervention strategies.

Governance of interdisciplinary climate interventions research is needed, especially with regard to field studies and outdoor experiments, requiring communication with local stakeholders and underrepresented groups from the start. Currently, existing work on societal decision making is very decentralized and academic, often performed by individual researchers, with few question-oriented projects. A detailed assessment of research governance approaches of Solar Radiation Management (SRM) has been performed by the National Academy of Science (to be published soon).