The research project "WorldTrans - Transparent Assessment for real people" will develop better Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) that show the interaction between climate, economy and society. The project is financed by Horizon Europe.
For Europe to deliver on its Green Deal ambition (to make Europe’s economy climate neutral by 2050), citizen stakeholder engagement may be as important as dry facts and figures. People (not economies) react to climate change, people make decisions to act or not to act. Such is the nature of a democratic process. Only by understanding their part in the bigger picture - the system - can individuals realize the incentives to behave differently. A more comprehensive understanding of how the climate is affected requires being able to connect the various knowledge systems, and the connection between human behavior and climate change must be quantified and built into the models. However, due to the multiscale and multidiscipline range of climate change issues, it is extremely difficult to develop a common modelling framework.
In particular, WorldTrans will focus on three key limitations of the state-of-the-art of Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs), namely:
- Weak representation of social, human and economic heterogeneity;
- Limited representation of feedback between climate change, society and humans;
- Lack of transparency with respect to the inner workings of the models as well as with respect to the uptake of results and involvement of citizens and stakeholders, including limited assessment and traceability of uncertainty.
WorldTrans will address systemic, structural weaknesses and limitations of current IAMs. By using simpler models that focus on feedbacks, cross-sector connections and linkages, WorldTrans aims to overcome transparency issues, incorporate human behavior and actor heterogeneity more explicitly, explore a wider range of uncertainties, and assess the implications of feedback loops and engage citizens and stakeholders in inspiring environments of co-production and learning.
WorldTrans is coordinated by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway). IIASA leads the work on incorporating societal transformation into integrated assessment modelling, aiming to improve the representation of behavioural factors in IAMs and create feasible dynamic scenarios of food and energy demand based on an in-depth analysis of the adoption of low-carbon behaviours as a demand-side mitigation option.