Track 4a. Predictions and Responses

Track chairs:

João Joanaz de Melo. Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research (CENSE), School of Science and Technology, NOVA University Lisbon, Portugal.

Tamás Pálvölgyi. Department of Environmental Economics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Budapest, Hungary.

Goals and objectives of the track:

Climate changes have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans. Projected changes of climate variables will exacerbate the impacts on the availability and quality of natural resources, such as water and biomass, with consequences for the services they provide. For example, changing patterns of spatial distribution of water resources have led to crop yields decline, or to flooding and crop failure. Water issues have regularly been addressed by using more energy, allowing water redistribution over vast distances but also fostering increased conflicts. Changing patterns of average and extremes of temperature have increased energy services demand, which in turn require more water or land. The intrinsic relation between energy and other resources, particularly water and land, known as nexus, tends to deepen and expand under climate change scenarios.

It may be argued that there is no sustainable future without changing our collective mentalities, because at current rates of resource consumption simply there are not enough resources to fulfil the needs, let alone the desires, of a growing human population (even with better technology, which has proved to be a help but not a panacea). Conservative ecologic footprint calculations (that do not account for non-renewable resource consumption or persistent pollution) indicate that we are already using up 1.5 planets, in terms of flows of renewable resources. Planetary boundaries are a reality we must contend with sooner rather than later. Greenhouse gas emissions in particular account for a large part of the resource consumption overshoot.

We need to both predict and communicate better the science of climate change. We need to create a sense of urgency that can be translated into action, particularly with segments of society that have a different outlook towards the future: youth, progressive business, politicians with the will to actually change society rather than marketing cosmetic changes.

In this track we wish to discuss effective approaches to climate change predictions and solutions. What works? How can we foster real, long-term change? What are the priorities? Who are the key target-groups which we, as a scientific community, must engage and help to action?


Contributions from the following areas are welcome:

- New approaches to predict impacts of climate changes on energy systems, from resource supply to end-use energy services demand;

- Integrated methods and tools (e.g. integrated assessment modelling, quantitative data, indigenous knowledge, risk assessment);

- Predicting impacts on energy systems across regions (e.g. bioenergy imports, impacts of dams on river basins);

- Assessment of strategies and options to cope with impacts of future climate changes on the energy systems, taking the nexus perspective when appropriate;

- Strategies and incentives to promote better energy efficiency, the cornerstone of energy policy;

- Scale effects of predictions of climate change impacts, considering local, regional, national and transnational levels, and global level;

-  Communication of impacts of climate changes to decision-makers and other key actors;

-  Case studies at the regional, local and community level;

- Environmental, economic and social determinants of climate change adaptation.