Provocative thought on Climate Crisis mitigation: more of that, please!

1 Dec 2017

Above: Catherine's power-point slide for her presentation to the E-Mission Possible Roundtable.



On 29 November 2017, the first “E-Mission Possible” half day Roundtable was held in Wellington.

Hosted by Motu NZ in collaboration with the New Zealand Productivity Commission, the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, and the Environmental Defence Society New Zealand, this was the first of four Roundtables “to bring together diverse experts from New Zealand and overseas to shed new light on particularly thorny questions for New Zealand’s low-emission transition.” 

The ideas generated from these Roundtables will be integrated into climate crisis mitigation and solution design work moving forward.


In joining a panel of presenters, I gave my two cents’ worth on the topic, “frameworks and institutional and research needs for decision making under uncertainty”.  The session was opened with a scene-setting presentation from two Motu NZ colleagues, with the key questions for that session being:

  • What tools for the government or the private sector would support adaptive decision making?; and

  • What institutions and processes would support accelerated low-emission pathways that are integrated across sectors and broadly supported?


In my short five minutes speaking time, my main messages were:

  1. In an Age of unprecedented uncertainty due to multiple converging crises, the dominant Western, linear, strictly intellectual, conventional ‘molecular-based reality’ scientific approach to decision-making is no longer ‘fit for purpose’; and

  2. Humanity’s highly complex predicaments demand a radically different decision-making approach.  Tangata whenua (indigenous peoples', and in Aotearoa in particular, Māori peoples’) traditional knowledge systems offer that positive disruptive force that will give humanity a real chance of salvaging what’s left of our Life-supporting biosphere.


(My full speaking notes may be downloaded here). 

The Panelists' presentations were followed by interactive audience discussion which were jam packed with provocative views and ideas.  Much appreciation to the host organizations, all panelists and participants, and I’m very much looking forward to what the next Roundtable produces.  Watch this space for my report of the highlights from the open discussions in due course!



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