2019 Program Archive: Climate Adaptation Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty

Warning message

This is an archived page from the 2019 Forum. Click here or return to the Forum home page for information on the upcoming 2021 Forum.

Climate Adaptation Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty

Joel B. Smith
Abt Associates
Time Slot: 
Concurrent Sessions 5
Session Type: 

Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty (DMDU) describes an approach to making decisions on climate change adaptation given the fundamental difficulties predicting climate change and the need to make long-lived decisions, such as on infrastructure.
This session will explore what DMDU is, how it is being applied by some prominent American water utilities, and where DMDU may be heading in the future. The session will include presentations by leading theoreticians of DMDU and leading practitioners who are applying its principles.

Joel Smith of Abt Associates will chair the session and give opening remarks introducing the topic.

Laurna Kaatz, Denver Water and David Behar, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, will introduce current adaptation problems their utilities face that are characterized by deep uncertainty.

Kaatz will speak about how Denver Water is adopting scenario planning to develop a flexible, adaptive, long-term plan that will guide utility decisions.

Behar will address how SFPUC is using DMDU to help make long-term decisions regarding the effect of warming on its water supply, and discuss how new developments in sea-level rise science are driving coastal decision makers toward DMDU approaches.

Robert Lempert, RAND Corporation, will present how DMDU tools and methods are being applied to help decisions makers address the kinds of problems posed by Kaatz and Behar.

Casey Brown, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, will look into the future to see how DMDU may evolve and how it may be applied to help the field of adaptation to climate change.

The session will conclude with questions and answers.

Cross-Cutting Themes: 
Introduction to the Session
Joel B. Smith, Abt Associates
How DMDU Tools and Methods are Being Applied to Help Decisions Makers Address Adaptation Problems and Challenges
Robert J. Lempert, RAND Corporation
Looking Into the Future of DMDU: How it May Evolve and be Applied to Help Adaptation
Casey Brown, University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
How SFPUC is Using DMDU to Help it Make Long-Term Decisions
David Behar, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
How Denver Water Embraces Uncertainty Through Scenario Planning
Laurna M. Kaatz, Denver Water