Cover: Shaping the Future

Shaping the Future

Published in: Scientific American, v. 292, no. 4, Apr. 2005, p. 66-71

by Steven W. Popper, Robert J. Lempert, Steven C. Bankes

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Abstract

Science has become an essential part of decision making by governments and businesses, but uncertainty can foil decision-making frameworks such as cost-benefit analysis. People often end up doing nothing or taking steps that worsen the long-term outlook. -- The authors have developed an alternative framework focused on flexibility--finding, testing and implementing policies that work well no matter what happens. -- Policies can have built-in mechanisms to change with the circumstances. For climate change, one such mechanism is a safety valve to ensure that emissions reductions occur but do not get too expensive.

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