Avoiding climate change uncertainties in Strategic Environmental Assessment

Sanne Vammen Larsen, Lone Kørnøv, Patrick Arthur Driscoll

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Abstract

This article is concerned with how Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) practice handles climate change uncertainties within the Danish planning system. First, a hypothetical model is set up for how uncertainty is handled and not handled in decision-making. The model incorporates the strategies ‘reduction’ and ‘resilience’, ‘denying’, ‘ignoring’ and ‘postponing’. Second, 151 Danish SEAs are analysed with a focus on the extent to which climate change uncertainties are acknowledged and presented, and the empirical findings are discussed in relation to the model. The findings indicate that despite incentives to do so, climate change uncertainties were systematically avoided or downplayed in all but 5 of the 151 SEAs that were reviewed. Finally, two possible explanatory mechanisms are proposed to explain this: conflict avoidance and a need to quantify uncertainty.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Volume43
Pages (from-to)144-150
ISSN0195-9255
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • Uncertainty
  • Decision support systems
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Climate change

Cite this

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title = "Avoiding climate change uncertainties in Strategic Environmental Assessment",
abstract = "This article is concerned with how Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) practice handles climate change uncertainties within the Danish planning system. First, a hypothetical model is set up for how uncertainty is handled and not handled in decision-making. The model incorporates the strategies ‘reduction’ and ‘resilience’, ‘denying’, ‘ignoring’ and ‘postponing’. Second, 151 Danish SEAs are analysed with a focus on the extent to which climate change uncertainties are acknowledged and presented, and the empirical findings are discussed in relation to the model. The findings indicate that despite incentives to do so, climate change uncertainties were systematically avoided or downplayed in all but 5 of the 151 SEAs that were reviewed. Finally, two possible explanatory mechanisms are proposed to explain this: conflict avoidance and a need to quantify uncertainty.",
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Avoiding climate change uncertainties in Strategic Environmental Assessment. / Larsen, Sanne Vammen; Kørnøv, Lone; Driscoll, Patrick Arthur.

In: Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 43, 11.2013, p. 144-150.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AB - This article is concerned with how Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) practice handles climate change uncertainties within the Danish planning system. First, a hypothetical model is set up for how uncertainty is handled and not handled in decision-making. The model incorporates the strategies ‘reduction’ and ‘resilience’, ‘denying’, ‘ignoring’ and ‘postponing’. Second, 151 Danish SEAs are analysed with a focus on the extent to which climate change uncertainties are acknowledged and presented, and the empirical findings are discussed in relation to the model. The findings indicate that despite incentives to do so, climate change uncertainties were systematically avoided or downplayed in all but 5 of the 151 SEAs that were reviewed. Finally, two possible explanatory mechanisms are proposed to explain this: conflict avoidance and a need to quantify uncertainty.

KW - Climate change

KW - Uncertainty

KW - Decision-making

KW - Strategic Environmental Assessment

KW - Uncertainty

KW - Decision support systems

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KW - Climate change

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