Corridors of clarity: four principles to overcome uncertainty paralysis in the Anthropocene

Polasky, Stephen, Crepin, Anne-Sophie, Biggs, Reinette (Oonsie), Carpenter, Stephen R., Folke, Carl, Peterson, Garry, Scheffer, Marten, Barrett, Scott, Daily, Gretchen, Ehrlich, Paul, Howarth, Richard B., Hughes, Terry, Levin, Simon A., Shogren, Jason F., Troell, Max, Walker, Brian, and Xepapadeas, Anastasios (2020) Corridors of clarity: four principles to overcome uncertainty paralysis in the Anthropocene. BioScience, 70 (12). pp. 1139-1144.

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Abstract

Global environmental change challenges humanity because of its broad scale, long-lasting, and potentially irreversible consequences. Key to an effective response is to use an appropriate scientific lens to peer through the mist of uncertainty that threatens timely and appropriate decisions surrounding these complex issues. Identifying such corridors of clarity could help understanding critical phenomena or causal pathways sufficiently well to justify taking policy action. To this end, we suggest four principles: Follow the strongest and most direct path between policy decisions on outcomes, focus on finding sufficient evidence for policy purpose, prioritize no-regrets policies by avoiding options with controversial, uncertain, or immeasurable benefits, aim for getting the big picture roughly right rather than focusing on details.

Item ID: 66204
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1525-3244
Keywords: global environmental change, science-policy interface, sufficient evidence, uncertainty
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2021 18:55
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440709 Public policy @ 33%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4408 Political science > 440805 Environmental politics @ 34%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410103 Human impacts of climate change and human adaptation @ 33%
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