Advertisement

EURO Journal on Decision Processes

, Volume 4, Issue 1–2, pp 53–72 | Cite as

Operational research virtues in the face of climate change

  • Søren H. WenstøpEmail author
  • Fred Wenstøp
Original Article

Abstract

This paper argues that the virtue of righteousness sustained by raw emotions can explain the apparent deadlock of the climate change debate, and proposes virtues that are more conducive to consequential action. The expectation that operational researchers are virtuous is based on an honorable tradition. Virtues are even more important now, especially in the context of climate change where a public debate is unfolding; in which deniers and believers accuse each other of lack of virtue. Scientists are in the midst of the debate whether they like it or not. Rational multi-criteria decision processes require deliberation involving values infused by temperate emotions, not to be caught up by strong emotions from righteous affect. They also require an instrumentality directed at practical engagement with physical reality. The origin of all values is raw affects in the emotional centers of our ancestral brains, which power the virtues that make us righteous, as well as the tempered qualitative feelings that are necessary for sound decision-making. Different communities nurture different self-reinforcing righteous positions, explaining why a meaningful climate change debate often gets side-tracked. Scientists are not exempt from righteousness but are in a position to dampen its effect by nurturing virtues that promote good science when they deal with climate related issues. In this article, we identify several virtues that we believe are conducive for scientists’ work with mitigation and adaption. For example, it is important to be humble and avoiding hubris in geoengineering. And with regards to recovery and restoration of nature, it is important to be open and accommodative with ecological sensitivity, care and patience. In general, work with mitigation and adaption requires respect for people, respect for science, accuracy and concern. A scientist should also have the courage to speak out about facts, and thereby, contribute to a more temperate and informed public debate. Thus courage and factualism are also important virtues.

Keywords

Righteousness Ethics Emotions Climate change Science virtues 

Mathematics Subject Classification

90-00 General reference works (handbooks, dictionaries, bibliographies, etc.) 

References

  1. Baron J, Spranca M (1997) Protected values. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 70:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Belton V (2005) Emotionally intelligent MCDA? J Multi-crit Decis Anal 13:159–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boulding KE (1966) The ethics of rational decision. Manag Sci 12(6):B161–B169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bradley RS, Mann M, Hughes MK (1999) Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: inferences, uncertainties, and limitations. Geophys Res Lett 26(6):759–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brans JP (2002) OR, ethics and decisions: the OATH of PROMETHEUS. Eur J Oper Res 140(2):191–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brugha CM (2005) Emotional intelligence in MCDA. J Multi Crit Decis Anal 13:173–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camerer C, Loewenstein G, Prelec D (2005) Neuroeconomics: how neuroscience can inform economics. J Econ Lit XLIII:9–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Capstick SB, Pidgeon NF (2013) What is climate change skepticism? Examination of the concept using mixed methods study of the UK public. Glob Environ Change. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.08.012 Accessed 30th November Google Scholar
  9. Carey J (2013) Architects of the swamp. Sci Am 309:67–70Google Scholar
  10. Chiao JY, Mathur VA, Harada T, Lipke T (2009) Neural basis of preference for human social hierarchy versus egalitarianism. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1167:174–181. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cook J (2013) Climate Misinformer: Christopher Monckton. Skeptical Science. http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton_Myths_arg.htm. Accessed 15 Nov 2013
  12. Cook J (2014) What do the ‘Climategate’ hacked CRU emails tell us? Skeptical science. http://www.skepticalscience.com/Climategate-CRU-emails-hacked.htm. Accessed 9 May 2014
  13. Cook J, Nuccitelli D, Green SA, Richardson M, Winkler B, Painting R, Way R, Jacobs P, Skuce A (2013) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environ Res Lett 8(2):024024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cromwell HC, Panksepp J (2011) Rethinking the cognitive revolution from a neural perspective: how overuse/misuse of the term “cognition” and the neglect of affective controls in behavioral neuroscience could be delaying progress in understanding the BrainMind. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 35:2026–2035Google Scholar
  15. Damasio AR (1994) Descartes’ error. Emotion, reason and the human brain. G P Putnam’s sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Delingpole J (2011) Watermelon: the green movement’s true colors. Publius Books, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  17. Delingpole J (2013) Global warming believers are feeling the heat. The telegraph. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100238047/. Accessed 15th Nov 2013
  18. Douglas M (1982) Cultural bias. In the active voice. Routledge & K. Paul, BostonGoogle Scholar
  19. Fossat P, Bacqué-Cazenave J, Deurwaerdère PD, Delbecque J-P, Cattaert D (2014) Anxiety-like behavior in crayfish is controlled by serotonin. Science 344(6189):1293–1297. doi: 10.1126/science.1248811 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gallo G (1996) Operations research. The challenge of complexity. Ricerca Operativa 26:5–14Google Scholar
  21. Gass SI (2009) Ethical guidelines and codes in operations research. Omega 37(6):1044–1050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goldman AH (2009) Reasons for within: desires and values. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haidth J (2012) The righteous mind. Pantheon Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Hansen J (2012) Why I must speak out about climate change. TED. http://www.ted.com/talks/james_hansen_why_i_must_speak_out_about_climate_change#t-1046491. Accessed 20 June 2014
  25. Howard N (1993) The role of emotions in multi-organizational decision-making. J Oper Res Soc 44(6):613–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hulme M (2008) The conquering of climate: discourses of fear and their dissolution. Geogr J 174(1):5–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hulme M (2009) Why we disagree about climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hulme M (2014) Can science fix climate change?. Polity Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  29. Hume D (1739–1740) A Treatise of human nature. Penguin books, London, 1969Google Scholar
  30. IPCC (2013) Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Intergovernmental panel on climate change. http://www.climatechange2013.org/. Accessed 4th Nov 2013
  31. IPPC (2007) Climate change 2007: synthesis report. Adaptation and mitigation options. The intergovernmental panel on climate change. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/spms4.html. Accessed 3rd Dec 2013
  32. Kahan DM, Wittlin M, Peters E, Slovic P, Ouellette LL, Braman D, Mandel G (2005) The tragedy of the risk-perception commons: culture conflict, rationality conflict, and climate change. SSRN eLibrary. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.1871503 Google Scholar
  33. Kahneman D (2011) Thinking, fast and slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. Kant I (1991) Grundlegung zur Methapysik der Sitten. Philip Reclam Jun, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  35. Kleidon AaR M (2013) A simple explanation for the sensitivity of the hydrologic cycle to surface temperature and solar radiation and its implications for global climate change. Earth Syst Dyn 4:455–465. doi: 10.5194/esd-4-455-2013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kunsch PL, Kavathatzopoulos I, Rauschmayer F (2009) Modelling complex ethical decision problems with operations research. Omega 37(6):1100–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Loewenstein G, Lerner JS (2002) The role of affect in decision making. In: Rj Davidson (ed) Handbook of affective sciences. Oxford Universiry Press Inc., Cary, p 619Google Scholar
  38. Lomborg B (2001) The skeptical environmentalist: measuring the real state of the world. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lomborg B (2007) Cool it: the skeptical environmentalist’s guide to global warming. Knopf Publishing Group, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Lomborg B (2013) The poor needs cheap fossil fuels. The New York Times, 3rd DecGoogle Scholar
  41. Lovelock J (2006) The revenge of Gaia: Earth's climate crisis and the fate of humanity. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. MacLean PD (1952) Psychiatric implications of physiological studies on frontotemporal portion of limbic system (visceral brain. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol Suppl 4:407–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mann ME (2013) The hockey stick and the climate wars: Dispatches from the front lines. Columbia University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Markl-Hummel L, Geldermann J (2013) A local-level, multiple criteria decision aid for climate protection. EURO J Decis Process. doi: 10.1007/s40070-013-0011-8 Google Scholar
  45. McKibben B (2012) Global warmings terrifying New math. Rolling stone magazine. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719#ixzz2kN5i9bjJ Accessed 15th Nov 2013
  46. Meadows D (2012) “There is nothing we can do”. Damn the matrix. http://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/there-is-nothing-we-can-do-meadows/. Accessed 15th Nov 2013
  47. Meadows DH, Wright D (2008) Thinking in systems: a primer paperback. Chelsea Green Publishing, VermontGoogle Scholar
  48. Meadows DH, Meadows D, Randers J (1972) The limits of growth. A report for the club of Rome’s project on the predicament of mankind. Universe Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  49. Monckton C (2009) Open letter to chairman Pachauri science and Pyblic Policy Institute. http://www.warmwell.com/moncktonpachauri.pdf. Accessed 1st Dec 2013
  50. Nordhaus W (2013) Climate Casino: risks, uncertainty, and economics for a worming world. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  51. Ormerod RJ, Ulrich W (2013) Operational research and ethics: a literature review. Eur J Oper Res 228(2):291–307. doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2012.11.048 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. ORSA (1971) Guidelines for professional practice. Oper Res 19(5):1127–1131Google Scholar
  53. Panksepp J (1998) Affective neuroscience: the foundations of human and animal emotions. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. Panksepp J, Biven L (2012) The archaeology of mind. The Norton series on Interpersonal Neurology. W.W.Norton & Company, LondonGoogle Scholar
  55. Pew Research Center (2009) Fewer Americans see solid evidence of global warming: modest support for ‘Cap and Trade’ policy. Pew Research Center for the people and the press. pewresearch.org/pubs/1386/cap-and-trade-global-warming-opinion. Accessed 30th Nov 2013
  56. Powell JL (2011) The Inquisition of climate science. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  57. Ranger N, Reeder T, Lowe J (2013) Addressing ‘deep’ uncertainty over long-term climate in major infrastructure projects: four innovations of the Thames Estuary 2100 Project. EURO J Decis Process 1(3–4):233–262. doi: 10.1007/s40070-013-0014-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rauschmayer F (2005) Linking emotions to needs. A comment to Fred Wenstøp’s article “Mindsets, rationality and emotion in multi-criteria decision analysis”. J Multi-Crit Decis Anal 13:187–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Roeser S (2006) The role of emotions in judging the moral acceptability of risks. Saf Sci 44(8):689–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sandler R (2012) Global warming and virtues of ecological restoration. In: Thompson A, Bendik-Keymer J (eds) Ethical adaption to climate change. Human virtues of the future. The MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 63–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Slovic P, Finucane ML, Peters E, MacGregor DG (2004) Risk analysis and risk as feelings: some thoughts about affect, reason, risk, and rationality. Risk Anal 2:311–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Spillius A (2010) Congressman says God will save us from climate change. The Telegraph, 10 November 2010Google Scholar
  63. Tangney JP (1999) The self-conscious emotions: shame, guilt, embarrassment and pride. In: Dalgleish T, Power MJ (eds) Handbook of cognition and emotion. Wiley, New York, pp 541–568. doi: 10.1002/0470013494 Google Scholar
  64. Throop WM (2012) Environmental virtues and the aims of restoration. In: Thompson A, Bendik-Keymer J (eds) Ethical adaption to climate change. Human virtues of the future. The MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 47–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wenstøp F (2005) Mindsets, rationality and emotion in multi-criteria decision analysis. J Multi-Crit Decis Anal 13(4):161–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wenstøp F (2010) Operations research and ethics: development trends 1966–2009. Int Trans Oper Res 17:413–426. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-3995.2009.00730.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Winterfeldt D (2013) Providing a decision focus for global systems analysis. EURO J Decis Process 1(1–2):99–114. doi: 10.1007/s40070-013-0007-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and EURO - The Association of European Operational Research Societies 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Climate StrategyBI Norwegian Business SchoolOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of StrategyBI Norwegian Business SchoolOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations