The Ethics of Integrated Assessment Modelling

Simon Hollnaicher (doctoral project, ongoing)

Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are of great importance in scientific and economic advice on climate policy. IAMs simulate the earth, climate, and socio-economic system in an integrated way and thereby aim to answer complex policy questions relating to climate change. Feasibility plays a central role in these models, both explicitly and implicitly. Explicitly, IAMs aim to explore feasible pathways consistent with a given temperature goal. Implicitly, many feasibility assumptions need to be made in determining the input for these assessments and in designing the models. IAMs involve many normative assumptions, of which some are rather hidden in technical assumptions and decisions on model design.

This project aims to understand these assumptions and their ethical implications. More concretely, this project investigates the conception of feasibility underlying integrated assessments, critically engages with concrete value judgments in modeling climate policy pathways, and tries to contribute to the methodological discussion around how to handle these value judgments in IAMs in a legitimate way.