The Ecothresholds Project

Understanding thresholds in global change and their implications for decisionmaking

The Ecothresholds Project

Understanding thresholds in global change and their implications for decisionmaking

The Ecothresholds Project

Understanding thresholds in global change and their implications for decisionmaking

About the Ecothresholds Project

First Steering Committee Meeting

Thresholds Steering Committee

On 12-13 of December 2017, the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment convened the first meeting of the steering committee for the symposium project, ‘‘Understanding the Consequences of Thresholds in Global Change and Their Implications for Decision-Making,’’ sponsored by the Surdna Foundation and The Heinz Center.

Efforts towards the organization of a symposium began several years ago with the Heinz Center’s efforts to coordinate with the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) to develop an event on threshold changes and their policy and management implications. The goals for the steering committee meeting were to: 1) identify key substantive issues to understanding and defining threshold change, 2) develop a working threshold definition, and 3) determine an appropriate event format.

Workshop objectives

The objectives of the steering committee meeting were to:

  1. To consider the state of the science of and conceptual approaches to understanding threshold change and to determine an operational definition for the purposes of this symposium activity.
  1. To identify and discuss strategic issues related to the organization of a symposium including framing, audience, products, scale and preparation.
  1. To evaluate possible formats the symposium and for the incorporation of case studies into the design and implementation of symposium.
  1. To develop a post-symposium strategy for building effective linkages back to decision-making.

To download the workshop files, click on the following links:

Workshop summary (29 pages)
Workshop agenda
Workshop discussion questions
List of steering committee meeting participants

Meeting Findings and Action Steps

  • Need to have the physical/ecological science on very firm ground
  • Two-meeting format: work with small number of scientists from now until mid-fall on physical/ecological science (‘‘science meeting’’)
  • Host fall science meeting on that topic and produce that first synthesis paper for use at larger workshop
  • Workshop would use consensus paper as source of examples and as scientific overview
  • Workshop could then focus on interaction with management and policy communities and lessons learned
  • Need to insure that representatives from those communities are built into the workshop agenda so can usefully engage them
  • Do not imagine that this will lead to overhaul of climate policy—target those who are already willing to learn and interact

Workshop

  • Roughly a three day agenda
    • Day 1: focused on known and well documented examples, scientific consensus document
    • Day 2: focused on examples where adaptive capacity has been overwhelmed and there are concerns for future
    • Day 3: Lessons learned, wrap-up  

Post-event (science meeting/workshop follow-up)

  • Need to have effective follow-up and communication post-workshop
  • Possibility of this being first of a longer iterative process—obvious funding implications
  • Need to be able to answer the question: what do we want people to do as a result of this event (science meeting & workshop)?

Synthesis: What are the larger issues to be addressed through this event?

  • Looking for general principles
  • What are the implications of threshold effects for atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases?
  • What are the implications of threshold effects for addressing multiple environmental stresses?
  • What management and/or policy strategies might be prudent to deal with such events?
  • What new science or observations would be especially useful?
  • How can we build additional adaptive capacity?

Get in Touch

Fall 2017 Meeting Agenda

The full schedule of speakers and activities.

Location, logistics and travel information

For the Fall conference.

ECO THRESHOLDS

A project of THE H. JOHN HEINZ III CENTER FOR SCIENCE, ECONOMICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT in colaboration with THE NATURE CONCERVANCY

The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment

Location

900 17th Street, NW • Suite 700 • Washington, DC

Eco Threshold

900 17th Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC

Telephone: 202-737-6307
Fax: 202-737-6410
Email: info@heinzctr.org