Pardee Center Speaker Series and Events

The RAND Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition, as well as related RAND centers and programs, occasionally host speakers and events related to futures methodologies, decisionmaking, and similar topics. Pardee Center representatives also present at events to share the center's work.

This page lists recent and upcoming external events and speakers. An archive of earlier events is also available.

Additionally, the Pardee Center is inviting experts in understanding, managing, and shaping complex adaptive systems to participate in internal discuussions known as the Policy Analysis for Complex Systems (PACS) Speaker Series.


Cooling the Planet Through Solar Reflection


May 11, 2022

RAND’s Robert Lempert and Stewart M. Patrick, the James H. Binger senior fellow in global governance and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at CFR, discuss climate intervention techniques including solar geoengineering and considerations for policymakers in exploring new and uncertain climate change mitigation strategies.

Watch the webinar.

Update on Findings of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


March 2, 2022

In March 2022, the RAND Climate Resilience Center hosted a webinar to discuss findings from the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II. The report's authors assessed the latest science on the interdependence of climate, biodiversity, environment, and human societies.

Watch the webinar.


A Demonstration of Robust Decision Making at Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG)


April 28, 2020

RAND’s Robert Lempert and Garett Ballard-Rosa, a senior analyst at the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), presented a webinar about how robust decisionmaking (RDM) might enhance current long-range planning. The RAND Corporation has worked with SACOG, the metropolitan planning organization for the Sacramento region, to apply an RDM approach to selected components of SACOG’s regional transportation plan.

Watch the webinar.

Raven Radio Interview

Sitka, AK

February 20, 2020

Robert Lempert was interviewed on radio station KCAW during a trip to Sitka, Alaska. He spoke about RAND's research on introducing a social networking component into Sitka's landslide warning system.

“A good warning system has risk knowledge, has monitoring, has communications, and has response,” Lempert said. “And so our project is trying to enhance all those different pieces and integrate them together—both within the city, and with state and federal agencies.”

Listen to the full interview here.


California Adaptation Forum

Sacramento, CA

August 27, 2018

On August 27, 2018, Robert Lempert, Michelle Miro, Miriam Marlier, Tom LaTourrette, and Neil Berg (UCLA – formerly with RAND) participated in the California Adaptation Forum held in Sacramento, California. The biennial California Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to create resilient communities throughout the state. The forum offers a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, workshops, and tours that support the transition from adaptation awareness and planning to action.

Robert Lempert, Director of the RAND Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition helped administer the workshop, “Sea-Level Rise Adaptation: Understanding the Science, Regulatory Frameworks and Resources,” which provided an overview of the latest sea-level rise science, guidance, tools, and resources. The first part of the workshop focused on the recently updated 2018 State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance from the Ocean Protection Council, and included a presentation on the adaptation pathways concept and a discussion with state coastal agencies on implementation of the Guidance. The second part of the workshop focused on tools and resources. It included: a presentation and demonstration of a new coastal plan alignment tool, which assists with aligning local coastal programs, general plans, local hazard mitigation plans and climate adaptation plans; a demonstration of the Adaptation Clearinghouse website and its sea-level rise resources; and status updates on four sea-level rise online mapping tools: NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer, COSMOS/Our Coast Our Future, the Cal-Adapt Sea Level Rise tool, and the ART Bay Area Flood Explorer.

Tom LaTourrette, Senior Physical Scientist, presented a demonstration of RAND’s new California Emergency Response Infrastructure Climate Vulnerability Tool (CERI-Climate). CERI-Climate is an interactive tool that combines a database of California critical emergency response infrastructure with projected flood and wildfire hazard footprints to examine the exposure and associated impacts to infrastructure statewide from these hazards. The database contains over 600 assets, such as emergency services and health care facilities. Outputs include maps and tables describing facility exposures, flood and fire risks, property damage estimates from flooding, and estimates of operational disruption. The tool allows users to examine a range of conditions spanning different emissions scenarios, climate models, hazard severity, and other factors in 20-year time intervals through the year 2100. The tool also provides the ability to examine results for particular facility types, specific counties, and for facilities located in disadvantaged communities.

Dialogue on Deep Decarbonization in the Face of Risk and Uncertainty
Hosted by RAND

San Francisco, CA

April 5, 2018

The Decarbonization Dialogues, an initiative co-led by the RAND Corporation, with the generous underwriting of the Metanoia Fund, brings together leaders—from philanthropy, business, research, advocacy, government, law and international organizations—to critically evaluate the world’s potential for urgently decarbonizing human activity, which is necessary to mitigate climate change.

Building on a series of smaller conversations held over the past year, RAND invited a select group of individuals representing a range of organizations and expertise to an off-the-record meeting to explore how to move forward the agenda for deep decarbonization—particularly to ensure that adequate technological means are available to advance decarbonization apace while also meeting other global social, political and economic goals—and bearing in mind the deep uncertainty inherent in all of the pathways available to global decarbonization.

The meeting offered the participants the opportunity to collectively assess the current state of innovation, investment and risk management in the pursuit of decarbonization; major challenges to and opportunities for urgent decarbonization; feasible pathways for urgent decarbonization in the context of prevailing and possible social, political, and economic constraints; communication challenges in raising the call for urgent decarbonization; fostering collective recognition of indicators for risk-aware societal investment in decarbonization efforts; and “robustness” and “risk governance” as useful frameworks for thinking about leadership in advancing decarbonization.

DMDU Society 2018 Annual Meeting

Southern California

November 13-15, 2018

DMDU Society's 2018 meeting will be held in Southern California and will be hosted jointly by the RAND Corporation and the local government of Culver City, California. The 2018 theme will focus on DMDU in urban planning and technology sectors, with a particular emphasis on Latin American and Pacific Rim communities. Seating for this event is limited and registration is required.

For more information, visit

How "Serious" Games inform Decisionmaking

Rob Lempert, Director, Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition

Santa Monica, CA

February 7, 2018

Robert Lempert, director of RAND's Pardee Center, hosted a RAND Policy Circle Conversation, "How 'Serious' Games inform Decisionmaking," on February 7 in Santa Monica.

More than 30 friends and sponsors of RAND participated in an interactive game entitled, Decisions for the Decade. This game supports learning and dialogue about the challenges of decisionmaking under deep uncertainty. The gameplay helps people recognize that the future can prove deeply uncertain, and therefore managing risks may require being prepared for surprises.

Decisions for the Decade was designed, with help from RAND staff, by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre for the World Bank. The game has been played by government officials in countries around the world and by the leadership of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The experience created an interactive atmosphere among the participants, fostering robust debate and conversations as well as creating exciting and thought-provoking twists and turns throughout the evening's events.


How We Can Use Optimization to Design Electric Power Markets to Support Socially Optimal Decisions

Benjamin F. Hobbs, Theodore K. and Kay W. Schad Professor of Environmental Management Dept. of Environmental Health & Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering; Founding Director, Environment, Energy, Sustainability & Health Institute, The Johns Hopkins University

Santa Monica, CA

November 30, 2016

Restructuring of the power industry was intended to provide incentives for more efficient operation and investment: Designers of markets have to balance the desire for "supporting prices" and "incentive compatibility" with needs for transparency and computational practicality, as well as political objectives, such as to provide support for certain favored technologies. This talk reviewed some specific circumstances in which there have been difficult tradeoffs in market design, and the insights that optimization can bring to defining prices.

Bridging Scales, Sectors, and the Quantitative-Qualitative Divide in Environmental Futures

Vanessa Schweizer, Assistant Professor; Department of Knowledge Integration, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo

Santa Monica, CA

August 11, 2016

The International Congress on Environmental Modeling and Software (iEMSs)—a workshop convened on enhancing approaches for story and simulation—brought together experts in scenario analysis, decision support, and environmental modelling to take stock of various techniques that enhance the scientific credibility of scenarios, stakeholder assessments of scenario legitimacy, and their policy salience. This presentation from Vanessa Schweizer summarized those workshop outcomes and some directions for future work.

Future Law: Legal and Governance Implications of Transformative Societal Trends

Edward A. Parson, Dan and Rae Emmett Professor of Environmental Law; Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA School of Law

Santa Monica, CA

June 7, 2016

Edward A. Parson joins RAND to report on a recent activity that examined the challenges posed to legal arrangements and governing institutions by certain large-scale societal trends—mainly related to technological advances and environmental stresses—that are likely to have broad and disruptive impacts over the next two to three decades.

Targets and Turmoil in UK Energy Policy: Energy Modeling at the Science-Policy Interface

Dr. Francis Li, Research Associate, University College London (UCL) Energy Institute

Santa Monica, CA

June 6, 2016

Energy models have played a strong role in underpinning UK government decisions on energy and climate policy since the early 2000s. The challenge for energy modeling at the science-policy interface is how to explore plausible pathways for achieving long-term targets that deliver relevant insights for decisionmakers in the short to medium term.

This is likely to involve not only reframing long-term climate targets in light of the Paris Agreement, but also exploring robust technology transition pathways that are resilient in the face of multiple uncertainties. In his discussion on this topic, Dr. Francis Li draws on his experience in both academic research and strategic analysis in the energy industry.

Adaptation Futures Conference

Rotterdam, Holland

May 10-13 2016

Adaptation Futures 2016 was the fourth PROVIA worldwide adaptation conference. It aims to move climate change adaptation forward by promoting solutions across sectors, borders, and communities. For three days in May, scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and business people from all around the world gathered to discuss, debate, and learn.

Robert Lempert, Director, Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition, spoke at a roundtable on the use and usability of climate information in adaptation planning.

Participatory Modeling: Partnering with Stakeholders for Robust Decision-making

Laura Schmitt Olabisi, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, Department of Community Sustainability, Environmental Science & Policy Program

Santa Monica, CA

January 15, 2016

Scientists who want to do policy-relevant work need tools for investigating the future of complex systems and developing a plausible future scenario space in collaboration with stakeholders.

In this talk, Olabisi presented lessons learned from two participatory, transdisciplinary modeling projects. The goal of the first project was to evaluate options for increasing household food security in Detroit, Michigan, using system dynamics modeling. The second project focused on identifying major drivers of food security (and insecurity) in dryland West Africa, using an ensemble modeling approach (multiple distinct models generating different output around a common problem).

Challenges in Ecosystem Services Assessment and Roles for Policy Analysis

Benjamin Bryant (PRGS Cohort '05), Postdoctoral Scholar, The Natural Capital Project, Stanford University

Santa Monica, CA

January 12, 2016

Ecosystem services are the benefits people receive from nature. These include benefits such as water purification and flood protection from forests and wetlands, pollination from bees supported by improved bee habitat, and enhanced well-being from tourism and exposure to nature via recreation.

Characterizing these benefits—and how they change as a result of different decisions—is an increasingly common endeavor undertaken under the banner of "ecosystem service assessments." Such assessments are inherently multidisciplinary on both the substantive and methodological fronts, combining fields like ecology, hydrology, economics, and geospatial sciences.

This talk provided an introduction to the ecosystem services concept and described recent applied work at the Natural Capital Project, with an emphasis on highlighting the types of analytic problems that are ripe for the application of the policy analyst's toolset. Relevant elements of such a toolset include approaches for decision-making under uncertainty, operations research, multi-criteria analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and impact assessment.


Comparing Transformational Climate Policies with Agent-Based Modeling

Steven Popper, Rob Lempert, and Raffaele Vardavas

Santa Monica, CA

October 19, 2015

Current climate policy literature provides little guidance on how today's policy choices can successfully shape long-term emission reduction paths. To address such questions, this paper introduces a new agent-based, game theoretic model designed to compare how near-term choices regarding alternative policy architectures influence long-term emission reduction trajectories.

Drawing on political science literature that identifies the characteristics of policies that persist over time, this simulation for the first time integrates the co-evolution of an industry sector, its technology base, and the shifting political coalitions that influence the future stringency of the government's emission reduction policies—all as influenced by the initial choice of policy architecture.

An exploratory modeling analysis finds that near-term choices regarding the architecture of a carbon pricing policy may affect long-term decarbonization rates significantly. In particular, such rates are higher if program revenues are returned to firms in proportion to their market share, thus, creating a political constituency for continuing the carbon pricing policy. More generally, the analysis provides a framework for considering how near-term policy choices can affect long-term emission transformation pathways within integrated assessment models.


Energy in India: Overarching Discussions and Initial Thoughts on an RDM Approach

Gaurav Kapoor, Ph.D., Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, Bangalore, India

Santa Monica, CA

December 12, 2014

India is facing a huge energy crunch: Not only is (electrical) energy essential for its growing economy, India also plans to boost spending on infrastructure, social services, and other forms of development.

However, with the energy sector plagued by chronic shortages and distribution challenges, the economic engine can be derailed if concrete steps to tackle this problem are not taken immediately. In addition, India lacks the capability to pay for ever-growing imports of conventional energy sources such as coal or crude oil that currently dominate the energy mix.

In this presentation, Dr. Kapoor described the energy challenge that India is facing and his initial work in applying an RDM approach to solving the problem. He explained that any solution developed must be sustainable: In other words, be able to accommodate disruptive technologies (such as an exploding demand for electric vehicles), a shortage of raw materials (coal, oil, nuclear fuel), and climate change (high variability in renewable source availability).

Ho Chi Minh City Flood Control Strategy: RDM and Beyond

Ho Long Phi, Director, Center for Water Management and Climate Change, Viet Nam National University, Ho Chi Minh City

Santa Monica, CA

December 11, 2014

Ho Long Phi laid out three strategic options for tide control in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), one of the most vulnerable cities in the world facing the impact of climate change.

Tide control has been considered one of the most effective measures to protect HCMC against combined effects of sea level rise, upstream flood, and land subsidence in the context of population growth in low-land areas. The three options were presented using RDM to analyze benefit/cost performance under certainties of climatic and non-climatic variables.

System Dynamics Approach for Managing Flood Risk in Bangkok

Wijitbusaba (Ann) Marome, Assistant Professor, Urban Environmental Planning and Development, Thammasat University, Thailand

Santa Monica, CA

December 11, 2014

Dr. Marome takes an urban development planning approach to the understanding of climate change adaptation and urban resilience.

She brought her expertise as a researcher and team leader for Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR), an international research project, as well as her knowledge from authoring the First Thailand Assessment Report on Climate Change, to this riveting talk on managing flood risk in Bangkok.

Workshop on Robust Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty: South Florida Water Management District

Robert J. Lempert, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition

September 5, 2014

Robert J. Lempert, director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition, led a workshop for the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to introduce RDM approaches and discuss how they might be applied to water management and climate adaptation policies in the region.

The day long workshop included a panel discussion led by representatives of SFWMD, U.S. Department of Interior, Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and the cities of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

The Importance of Addressing Parametric Uncertainty: A Case Study of Flood Risk in Coastal Louisiana

David R. Johnson, Associate Mathematician at the RAND Corporation

Santa Monica, CA

July 18, 2014

Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the state of Louisiana has undergone a massive change in their approach to managing flood risk.

The state's 2012 Comprehensive master Plan for a Sustainable Coast endorses flood risk reduction as one of the primary keys to the state's future. Developed in support of this plan, RAND's Coastal Louisiana Risk Assessment model (CLARA) was used to evaluate flood risk under a wide range of uncertain future scenarios and with many combinations of risk reduction and coastal restoration projects in place.

In this talk, Johnson discussed the integrated approach that has been incorporated into CLARA and will be used in Louisiana's 2017 Coastal Master Plan. This approach includes measuring parametric uncertainty within a scenario using bootstrapping, Monte Carlo simulation, Markov chain analysis, and other techniques. The audience provided feedback on these methods and results.

Climate Change Mitigation Costs: A Tale of Uncertainties, Metrics, and Misleading Baselines

Céline Guivarch, researcher in energy and environmental economics at Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, CIRED (International Research Center on Environment and Development)

Santa Monica, CA

June 20, 2014

The cost of meeting a given climate change mitigation target (e.g., the goal adopted in climate negotiations to limit climate change to two degrees above pre-industrial levels) stimulates passionate discussion in both academic and public arenas.

Cost estimates reported by the IPCC Working Group III are measured by GDP losses or consumption losses in a mitigation scenario against a baseline. Another often-reported metric is the carbon price.

The work presented by Guivarch—through an Integrated Assessment Model that represents the intertwined evolution of technical systems, energy demand behaviors, and economic growth—suggests that, in order to maximize GDP while meeting a given mitigation target, the most important levers are energy demand behaviors and end-use energy efficiency. Yet, the importance of those levers does not stand out if the focus is on GDP losses against a baseline.

The presentation also incuded a brief introduction to "IQ SCENE," Innovative techniques for Quantitative SCenarios in ENergy and Environmental research program), by Evalina Trutnevyte, a research associate in the fields of energy strategy and energy systems modeling at the UCL Energy Institute.

Application of Robust Decision Making: Patuxent River Case Study

Jordan Fischbach, Codirector of the RAND Water and Climate Resilience Center, and Edmundo Molina-Perez, Ph.D. candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School

Santa Monica, CA

June 18, 2014

Fischbach and Molina-Pereze discussed using robust decision making (RDM) to address best management practices (BMP) for water pollution and water quality management in the face of climate change and other relevant uncertainties on the Patuxent River, a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay located in eastern Maryland.

Concerns specific to the Patuxent watershed include its highly urbanized surroundings, rapidly growing surrounding populations, the contribution of stormwater contaminants from the Patuxent, and more.

Informing Climate Risk Management Strategy Decision Tools Using the Mental Models Approach

Laura (Fleishman) Mayer, Associate Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation

Pittsburgh, PA

May 30, 2014

As we plan for future climate change scenarios, how should the tradeoffs among climate management strategies (i.e., mitigation, adaptation, and geoengineering) be considered?

Mayer led a discussion on the mental models (or, how one thinks about a topic) surrounding this question for eleven subject-matter experts in fields ranging from climate science to uncertainty quantification to ethical and epistemic analysis.

Demonstration of a Smart Market for Water

John "Fritz" Raffensperger, Senior Operations Researcher at the RAND Corporation

April 28, 2014

Santa Monica, CA

Over the past 15 years, researchers have developed and studied a mechanism called a "smart market" to manage surface and ground water, nitrate and phosphorous runoff, and flood impacts.

A smart market for water follows the design of the hugely successful modern markets for electricity, transportation, and natural gas, in which an independent system operator manages a multilateral auction cleared by optimizations.

In this presentation, Raffensperger presented a smart market for water. The audience had the opportunity to "play" this market, and see the winners, the losers, and the resulting outcome for the environment.

Engaging Policymakers with Serious Games

Nidhi Kalra, Director, RAND Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty

Santa Monica, CA

March 13, 2014

Policy analysts largely use briefings and reports to motivate and inform policymakers. Unfortunately, these unidirectional methods can fall short of fully reaching our audiences intellectually and emotionally. Serious games offer a compelling opportunity to embed a learning goal in the dynamics of game play.

In this event, facilitated by Nidhi Kalra, a diverse mix of RAND staff and PRGS students to played the game, "Decisions for the Decade," and experienced first-hand how games can help us more fully engage our clients and launch projects. Following the game was a discussion about how this game and others like it can be adapted to meet RAND's needs, including an effort to "re-skin" the game for use in sectors such as defense, health, transportation, and energy.

Uncertainty and Decision in Climate Change Economics

Geoffrey Heal, Professor, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University

Santa Monica, CA

February 3, 2014

Uncertainty is intrinsic to climate change: We know that the climate is changing, but not how fast or in precisely what ways. Nor do we understand fully the social and economic consequences of these changes, or the options that will be available for reducing climate change.

Furthermore, the uncertainty about these issues is not readily quantified and expressed in probabilistic terms: We are facing deep uncertainty or ambiguity rather than risk in the classical sense, rendering the classical expected utility framework of limited value.

In this presentation with Geoffrey Heal, Donald C. Waite III Professor of Social Enterprise at Columbia business School, we review the sources of uncertainty about all aspects of climate change and resolve these into various components, commenting on their relative importance. Then we review the decision-making frameworks that are appropriate given the absence of quantitative probabilistic information, including both non-probabilistic approaches and those based on multiple priors.


Smart Markets for Water Resources

John F. Raffensperger, Senior Operations Researcher, RAND

Santa Monica, CA

May 16, 2013

Allocating and managing water resources remain some of the great problems of humanity.

Economists have long pressed for market approaches to allocating water resources. Intelligent policymakers responded with a simple question, "How?" Over the past 30 to 40 years, researchers have begun to develop answers, especially with the invention of "smart markets," which are auctions cleared by optimization.

This presentation describes recent work in "smart market" designs for ground water, surface water, and the combination, for runoff from sediment, nitrate, and phosphorus, and for impervious cover. These market designs are unusual in that they incorporate the hydrological physics, private values for the resources, and explicit detailed protection of the environment. Further, these new market designs promise to reduce the transaction costs associated with water resources management, while improving both the economy and the environment.

The markets for the different water resources operate differently, over different time horizons, and require different types of rights. These differences are due to the different physics of the resources, the different ways in which people interact with those resources, and the different types of constraints required to protect the environment. I will present a general framework for hydrological markets, discuss transaction costs, propose realistic institutional arrangements, and discuss the enormous change in mindset required.

Surfing the Sixth Wave: Exploring the Next 40 Years of Global Change

Professor Markku Wilenius and MA Sofi Kurki, Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku University, Finland

Santa Monica, CA

May 6, 2013

The project The 6th Wave and Systemic Innovations for Finland: Success Factors for Years 2010-2050 (6th WAVE) explores the Kondratieff long cycle theory (K-Wave for short) as a framework for anticipating the medium to long term future (2010-2050).

According to Kondratieff, economies follow the path of long-term dynamic cycles or waves. A long wave lasts for 40-60 years, and consists of a period of rapid economic growth, followed by stagnation or depression.

Previous research and a number of economic indicators lend support to the interpretation that, since the economic crisis of 2008, we now find ourselves in the last stages of the 5th wave, about to enter the 6th wave.

As our hypothesis, we hold that megatrends in the world economy, such as the permanently higher level of commodity prices as well as mounting environmental strains, are indicative of a new Kondratieff wave that is predominantly driven by efforts to improve resource efficiency. We believe resource productivity to be the key driver for technological, economic and social change. During the next wave, our economies will be driven by environmental technologies, biotechnology, nanotechnology and healthcare. Their effect will be leveraged by digitalization and the exponential rise of computational power — both legacies of the previous wave — that create circumstances for new products and services. A paradigm shift towards more efficient resource use is on the horizon, and its drivers are threefold: First, as many raw materials are becoming more rare, their price tends to increase. Second, in conditions of growing competition, the level of effectiveness at which raw materials and energy are used is becoming critical. Third, growing environmental awareness and legislation are putting pressure on companies to use less harmful substances in their production lines, and to serve their customers with less environmentally loaded products.

In our presentation we present the results of our research so far, and open the floor for discussion on the topic of prospects for the next Kondratieff wave.

Shell's Big Picture Scenarios

Dr. Cho-Oon Khong, Chief Political Analyst, Global Business Environment Team, Shell International

Santa Monica, CA

May 2, 2013

Shell's Global Business Environment team has been developing "big picture" global scenarios since the early 1970s, setting out alternative views of the future that the world might take.

These global scenarios aim to give business leaders a deeper understanding of the world in which they operate, and to help them make better business decisions. Shell's global scenarios have also gained a keen following among governments, academia and opinion shapers around the world.

In 2005, the Shell Global Scenarios explored the balances between market, state and society, and how they responded to crises. In 2008, Shell's Long Term Energy Scenarios explored the regulatory and technological underpinnings of the global energy system, how society and politics will shape that system, and what this means for future energy supply, demand and climate change.

Shell's New Lens Scenarios, just out, is Shell's next major set of "big picture" scenarios. They build on the 2008 Long Term Energy Scenarios, highlighting the prospect of intensified economic, political and social volatility. The New Lens Scenarios look at the "times of paradox" that we live in, the "era of volatile transitions" that we are moving into, and what this means for our long term global energy future.

Systems Science for Policy Support

Prof. Dr. Pavel Kabat, Director and Chief Executive Officer, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Santa Monica, CA

March 29, 2013

Narrowly focused, single-disciplinary science alone cannot adequately underpin policies and solutions to resolve major sustainability challenges.

We must rapidly refocus intellectual and economic investments toward multi-scale, integrated, interdisciplinary approaches that consider social, economic, and environmental aspects, that look across and between borders and sectors, and that identify feedbacks or the co-benefits of a policy or management decision, before it is made.

One example of this "systems" approach is the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), a multiyear, multidisciplinary study coordinated by IIASA. The GEA links energy to climate, air quality, human health and mortality, economic growth, urbanization, water, land use, and other factors. The GEA scenarios find that energy access for all by 2050 is possible with co-benefits of limiting warming to 2°C, improving air quality and human health, and stimulating economic growth within a green economy framework.

Realizing the sustainability goals of Rio+20 will require investment in integrated analyses to fully understand the Earth system (human and natural). This must be enabled by substantial growth in public-private partnerships that stimulate and fund collaboration between social and natural scientists and that engage key stakeholders in the user community at all stages of the research cycle—from inception to implementation.

The Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM): An Overview

Klaus Keller, Penn State University

Pittsburgh, PA

February 12, 2013

RAND is a member of a new, NSF-funded research network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM), which aims to bring together fundamental, mission-oriented, and cross-disciplinary research to identify climate-risk management strategies and analyze how different sustainability criteria interact across a broad range of temporal and spatial scales.

SCRiM, one of two networks funded under NSF's new Sustainability Research Networks initiative, links a transdisciplinary team of scholars at 19 universities and five research institutions, including RAND, across six nations.

SCRiM initiatives will focus on identifying sustainable, scientifically sound, technologically feasible, economically efficient, and ethically defensible climate-risk management strategies. Such strategies are expected to transcend the traditional boundaries between academic disciplines as well as between academia, industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, choosing such strategies will likely involve complex trade-offs and consideration of deep uncertainty where decisionmakers disagree about the appropriate problem framing, model structure, parameter values, and objectives.

In this talk, SCRiM Director Klaus Keller will provide an overview and give examples of projects that are part of this exciting new initiative.


A New Approach to Scenarios for the IPCC

Ms. Julie Rozenberg, Centre International pour l'Environnement et le Développement (CIRED), Paris, France

Santa Monica, CA

April 26, 2012

The scientific community is now developing a new set of scenarios, referred to as Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) to replace the IPCC SRES Scenarios, which have been used in numerous studies over the last decade.

To be used to investigate adaptation and mitigation, the new SSPs need to be contrasted along two axes: the capacity to mitigate, and the capacity to adapt. This talk described the current SSP process and proposed a methodology to develop these SSPs using a "backward" approach. The methodology is based on (i) an a priori identification of potential drivers of mitigation and adaptation capacity; (ii) a modelling exercise to transform these drivers into a large set of scenarios; (iii) an a posteriori selection of a few SSPs among these scenarios, such that they cover the uncertainty space in terms of capacity to adapt and mitigate.

Many-Objective Visual Analytics: Participatory Decision Support in Water Resources and Beyond

Dr. Patrick Reed, The Pennsylvania State University, with
Joe Kasprzyk, The Pennsylvania State University, 
and Shanthi Nataraj, RAND

Santa Monica, CA

February 10, 2012

In this talk, Dr. Patrick Reed presented an advanced visual analytical framework to aid decision makers in efficiently exploring and assessing complex, high dimensional Pareto approximate solution sets.

Beyond the framework's advanced decision support features, it also provides tools to visualize search dynamics and convergence in both serial and parallel computing contexts. He demonstrated the framework by showing examples drawn from space-time groundwater monitoring network design, surface water model calibration, and urban water portfolio planning applications.

Following Dr. Reed's presentation, Nataraj and Kasprzyk discussed a new interactive framework that combines robust decision making (RDM) with many objective optimization using evolutionary algorithms (MOEAs) to confront deep uncertainty for water planning on which they have been collaborating. The framework was demonstrated using a case study that examines a single city's water supply in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) in Texas, USA.


No Captain at the Helm: The Network Structure of Global Political Economy

Hilton L. Root, Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

Washington, DC

December 2, 2011

One of the key questions to be asked in the context of growing global interconnectedness is whether the global system will be stable as parts of the system are altered.

How will system-level properties be affected by the changes taking place in what was once the periphery, in China, the Middle East, and the second world in general? The behavior of China or of Islamic nations mattered little when they operated in relative isolation from the larger system, but in a truly interdependent system, divergent components can alter the behavior of the system as a whole.

The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program: Overview of Climate Change Results

Linda O. Mearns, Director, Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences
, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Santa Monica, CA

November 11, 2011

The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) is an international program that is serving the climate scenario needs of the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico.

We are systematically investigating the uncertainties in regional scale projections of future climate and producing high resolution climate change scenarios using multiple regional climate models (RCMs) and multiple global model responses by nesting the RCMs within atmosphere ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) forced with a medium-high emissions scenario, over a domain covering the conterminous US, northern Mexico, and most of Canada. In this overview talk, results from the various climate change experiments for various subregions, along with measures of uncertainty, were presented.

Global Water Leadership: New Partnerships for Innovation and Sustainability

Mr. Tim Brick, Board Member And Former Chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Santa Monica, CA

July 27, 2011

What is the future for water management in Southern California?

This talk addressed the current challenges for water managers in Southern California, and highlighted the issues that decision makers will face in the near- and longer-term future. Tim Brick argued that Southern California has the potential to be a global leader in the development of cutting edge technologies and approaches to water management for countries around the world.

Decision-Scaling and Robust Adaptation in Large Water Resource Systems

Dr. Casey Brown, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Santa Monica, CA

May 23, 2011

The projected impacts of climate change have extraordinary implications for many water resource systems.

There is increasing recognition of the importance of robust responses to these challenges. But there is lack of an accepted framework for incorporating climate information, with its inherent uncertainties and limitations, into the decision making and policy processes of most institutions. We describe a decision analysis framework––called decision scaling––for the use of uncertain climate information for planning in water resources systems. The approach is applied for climate risk assessment and for the design of robust adaptation.