About this Research Topic
The realisation of Net Zero by 2050 will require the ability for strategy developers, operational planners and decision makers to better manage uncertainty, complexity and emergence.
The application of the orthodox set of decision support tools and processes that have been used to explore deep decarbonisation options to 2050 have blinded decision makers to uncertainty, complexity and emergence. Tools have often been used which are inappropriate to the types of decisions being made – a competency which has been glaringly revealed during the C-19 Pandemic.
This Frontiers Research Topic will highlight the need for an interdisciplinary, mixed methods approach bringing together insights from modelling, decision science, psychology, anthropology, and sociology to form a compendium of current best practice for decision making for the net zero transformation and new research frontiers.
Develop greater awareness amongst policymakers, practitioners and academics as to the importance of:
• Understanding the nature of uncertainty when dealing with problems associated with the Net Zero Energy System Transformation;
• Increasing importance of deliberative processes to map different value sets beyond least cost;
• Acknowledging that decision making under uncertainty requires competency-based training leading to a full appreciation of the tasks at hand.
Suggested areas within scope are listed in points 1-12 below. Authors are free to choose specific areas of interest, and to combine these where useful. In general, it will be useful to consider practical application of [ideas], e.g
• development of `Use Cases’ and `Decision Making Contexts’ may be useful, e.g. National Govt establishing its Carbon Budget; Institution setting up its investment portfolio.
• understanding of how decisions are being made within different jurisdictions, political cultures, and types of organizations (public/private). What is the role of `Decision Context' i.e. organisational decision-making structures, cultures, the role of zeitgeist and dominant narratives, or the relation between academic expertise and policy-makers.
1. Decision making from an end-to-end perspective and the need to take a holistic and interdisciplinary perspective [Editorial Cover Article].
2. Gap between what policy makers and decision makers around net zero climate policy seek to address and what decision support tools can actually do. Why that gap is increasing (if it is)?
3. Understanding the nature of uncertainty when applying the relevant decision support tool and processes. Not all uncertainty can be addressed within the decision support tool itself. Role of optimism bias; potential role of least worst regret approaches etc
4. What different decision support tools can inform decision makers around net zero climate policy and need for a basket of tools.
5. Why parametric decision support tools and models are pre-eminent - the role of consolidative modelling and exploratory modelling. The inertia of modelling approaches: why it is so hard to break modelling paradigms?
6. What decision science informs us about how decisions are actually made - the importance of process, the role of transparency and deliberation with analysis.
7. Processes that address the biases identified in decision science and impact of identity politics on deliberative decision making.
8. Why decision making under deep uncertainty requires competency-based training, deep subject matter expertise and systemic knowledge.
9. Ministerial and policy making and the decision support requirements: US, EU, UK & China
10. The role of narratives and how uncertainty can be communicated to societal audiences. Storylines and other narrative approaches
11. How to develop participatory approaches allow multiple values, diversity of stakeholders in which climate communication and decision making exists in an iterative exchange with policy. We have started the journey e.g. the role of climate assemblies… what next?
12. Decision making under deep (climate) uncertainty by the financial sector
We acknowledge the funding of the manuscripts published in this Research Topic by the Clean Air Task Force. We hereby state publicly that the Clean Air Task Force has had no editorial input in articles included in this Research Topic, thus ensuring that all aspects of this Research Topic are evaluated objectively, unbiased by any specific policy or opinion of the Clean Air Task Force.
Keywords: Decision making, Uncertainty, Net Zero Transformation, Clean Air Task Force, Decision makers, Best Practice
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.