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Andlinger Center Events

Highlight Seminar Series: Robert Lempert, RAND Corporation

Date: December 3, 2020

Time: 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Location: Zoom seminar

Robert Lempert

Principal Researcher, RAND Corporation

“Climate change and deep uncertainty – Can we manage the risks without knowing what they are?”

Climate change is increasingly recognized as a risk management challenge, but one in which the risks are often deeply uncertain. Deep uncertainty exists when parties to a decision do not know or do not agree on any single probability distribution over future states of the world, the system models relating action to consequences, or the weightings over objectives. Methods and tools to address such deep uncertainty have become increasingly available to help researchers and decision makers.  While different in many particulars, these approaches all include the concepts of stress testing proposed plans over a wide range of plausible scenarios and then seeking to identify robust and adaptive pathways that can achieve goals over a wide range of such scenarios. At their best, such approaches can help generate common understanding and consensus among diverse groups, increase transparency, facilitate the use of analytics in deliberative processes, and help result in more resilient (and less over-confident) plans. This talk will describe recent advances in decision making under deep uncertainty (DMDU); survey how these approaches have been applied to both climate change mitigation and adaptation; discuss successes, barriers, and challenges; and offer suggestions for future research.

Robert Lempert is a principal researcher at the RAND Corporation and Director of the RAND Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. His research focuses on risk management and decision-making under conditions of deep uncertainty. Dr. Lempert is a convening lead author for Working Group II of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, was a chapter lead for the Fourth US National Climate Assessment, is a member of Harvard’s SCoPEx geo-engineering advisory panel, and was a member of California’s Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group. Dr. Lempert is the inaugural president of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty (, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and was also the Inaugural EADS Distinguished Visitor in Energy and Environment at the American Academy in Berlin. A Professor of Policy Analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School, Dr. Lempert is co-author of the book “Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Longer-Term Policy Analysis.”

This event is co-sponsored by The Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment.

Calendar of events for the 2020/2021 Highlight Seminar Series