Tue Feb 8 11:00

Envisioning Societal Change

Can transition pathways be smoothed with introduction of cupcakes and chocolate babkas into models

By Understanding Negotiations

A metaphorical story about the controversies around the use of integrated assessment models for the purpose of envisioning climate transitions, set in a fantasy context.

Created by Anders Hansson (story and script), Simon Haikola (story and script) and Henrik Skog (animation), and featuring the voice of Ericka Johnson

Integrated assessment models have gained a crucial position in the communication of climate science over the recent decade. They are used to communicate different socio-technical pathways for decarbonization, based on assumptions of resource availability, economic growth, the possibility to decouple carbon emissions from energy use, technological development, and more. After the climate summit in Paris in 2015, they have faced growing criticism for being overly optimistic in relation to the possibility to achieve net negative emissions globally, through the deployment of so-called negative emissions technologies. One could say, the models combine significant optimism regarding the possibility for states worldwide to massively scale up technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and pessimism in relation to the possibility to envision futures outside of the current paradigm of fossil fuel driven economic growth. In the current presentation, we use the metaphor of a fantasy story to highlight some of the controversies the use of such models has occasioned.

The animation Envisioning Societal Change is loosly inspired by the following papers:

Limits to climate action - Narratives of bioenergy with carbon capture and storageMap-makers and navigators Boundary Work and Interpretations in the IPCC Review Process


FEBRUARY 7–11 • 2022


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