Input to US National Academies on Climate Change Problem

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Jack Harich
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:56 am
Location: Atlanta, Georgia US
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Input to US National Academies on Climate Change Problem

Post by Jack Harich » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:08 pm

In this Dot Earth article, Andrew Revkin describes how the US National Academies has formed four panels to “inform” the US government as requested. The objective is to “lay out America’s choices.” This seems like an opportunity for the SD community to assist in this activity, because they are asking for input from anyone interested. See the bottom of the article for links to the four panels.

The panel that has attracted me is the Panel on Informing Effective Decisions and Actions Related to Climate Change. Click on the Full Statement of Task link.

The Statement of Task emphasizes “effective decisions and actions” over and over. My analysis of the environmental sustainability problem concludes that the reason for poor problem solving effectiveness over the past 30 years is use of the wrong paradigm. Problem solvers see the environmental sustainability problem as a “proper coupling” problem and are oblivious to the very high change resistance. In other words, they are obsessed with the technical side of the problem and are ignoring the social side. See this paper in progress for my analysis. The paper is built around an SD model.

That high systemic change resistance is preventing effective decisions and actions is the insight I want to input, because it has the potential to make a large difference. But how to best make this input? I have no real experience here.

Looking over the document, the second page says:
The panel should also provide policy-relevant (but not policy-prescriptive) input to the committee on the following overarching questions:
The forth item is the one that interested me:
What are the major impediments (e.g., practical, institutional, economic, ethical, intergenerational, etc.) to effectively informing decisions and actions related to climate change, and what can be done to overcome these impediments?
The mention of “major impediments” seems like a good takeoff point to me. I could write a cover letter with these points:
  • 1. THE major impediment appears to be high systemic change resistance. This would be supported by attaching the above paper in progress, with some explanation and linking to concepts the panel is familiar with.

    2. Until this is overcome, all other actions will suffer from low effectiveness. Progress will be made, but it will probably not be as fast and aggressive as needed. For proof, look at how slowly the world has moved since the fourth IPCC report.

    3. A possible problem is this is a social issue and may lie outside the problem boundary, since the National Academies tend to deal only in scientific, and hence technical issues. If so, then the panel faces the delicate task of internal lobbying to enlarge problem boundaries to include social issues like systemic change resistance.
That’s my initial plan. The submission deadline is April 17, 2009.

What do SDS members think of this approach?

Would anyone like to participate in developing a serious input to this panel?

Thanks,

Jack

J. Chris White
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:20 pm

Re: Input to US National Academies on Climate Change Problem

Post by J. Chris White » Wed May 06, 2009 10:19 am

Jack,

I did not read this post in time to provide any input for you. However, I would be very curious to hear what the response is to your letter. I am also working on a National Academies committee to look at the workforce for biomedical and clinical researchers for the National Institutes of Health, so I know a little about some of the interworkings of the committees.

Please keep us posted on your dealings with the climate change committee.

Thanks,
J. Chris White
viaSim
972-722-9255
jcwhite@viasimcorp.com

Jack Harich
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:56 am
Location: Atlanta, Georgia US
Contact:

Re: Input to US National Academies on Climate Change Problem

Post by Jack Harich » Thu May 07, 2009 10:39 am

Chris,

I decided not to take the time and trouble to send the National Academies a letter now. It's best to wait until the paper is published, and then contact them. That will be months after their deadline on this particular input project. Hopefully there will be more chances.

Good luck on your efforts,

Jack

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