Monday, November 26, 2007

European Congress on Ecological Modelling

I am attending the European Congress on Ecological Modelling and presenting a modified version of my paper ‘Conserving Biodiversity in the Face of Climate Change’ (published here, preprint here).

The modifications involve an approach to thinking about modelling climate change that use classical decision theory to analyse adaptations. This paper also reflects applied work I have done with graduate students on climate change in the Murray-Darling Basin and South-West Western Australia.

I am keen to get feedback on this latter paper.

Abstract: One approach to rationalising policies for addressing potentially catastrophic climate change when such policies may prove unnecessary is to suppose the policies provide a form of social insurance even in the presence of pure uncertainty. Then, provided the policies are effective when needed, such insurance can be justified as a minimax or precautionary response. Even if the policies are potentially ineffective, intervention can be justified by minimax regret considerations. This reasoning extends to justify ‘all weather’ policies provided such policies always act to reduce policy costs. If, however, policy decisions provide ‘all weather’ benefits in only certain states of the world, this rationale breaks down. Minimax regret can establish a case for ‘mixed’ policy responses provided that adopting a policy mix precludes the chance that intervention will fail altogether. Minimax and minimax regret policies are computed for a simple, dynamic, adaptive climate change planning problem and sufficient conditions for policy maker pessimism provided.

The Conference itself contains a fair bit of hard science and there are only a few economics presentations – the program is here. I am hoping to gain some ecological knowledge that will help my work. I’ll try to summarise what I learn in posts over the next few days and use these insights to develop my views.

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