Climate Change, Uncertainty and Transformation

Uncertainty has emerged as a problem for scientists and policy makers alike in climate change decision-making. This study states that uncertainty in climate change has been narrowly conceptualised from above (by scientists, experts and decision-makers). In doing so, the day-to-day experiences and practices of local people around uncertainty have been ignored, resulting in flawed actions.

Uncertainties in climate change projections are particularly high and there remains no consensus around how to integrate uncertainty in climate change decision-making. Despite these problems, quantitative assessment (usually based on probabilities and ecological risk assessment) remains at the heart of the scientific method. This project sees uncertainty as a key barrier to efforts to support social transformation to respond to the challenges posed by climate change.

It seeks to:

  • Explore discourses and practices of climate change uncertainty and transformation from ‘below’ and from ‘above’ and how they interact in diverse settings in India;
  • Study to what extent the discrepancy between uncertainty understandings is a barrier to social transformation necessary to adapt to climate change;
  • Develop approaches to bridge the different perspectives of uncertainty from ‘above’ and ‘below’ in order to foster more productive and socially just ways of dealing with uncertainties and social transformation.

Climate Change Uncertainty and Transformation Project Brief

Shibaji Bose writes for The Parliamentarian – The Sinking Heaven

Upasona Ghosh writes for the Health Systems Global blog – One year on from the Paris Agreement and are we any closer to tackling climate change?

Methods Vignettes: Photovoice

A Photovoice Exploration in the Indian Sundarbans, by Shibaji Bose

Recent work

Impact Story

Achieving climate justice in India’s Sundarbans

Women on the frontline of climate change in India have been making their voices heard and demanding climate justice, with help from a research partnership including the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and led by Noragric, NMBU and funded by the Research Council of Norway. Communities in...

4 December 2020


Floods in Kerala – a wake-up call

In light of the devastating floods of August 2018, the state needs to introspect on its approach to development. The worst floods in living memory Disaster struck the Indian coastal state of Kerala at an unprecedented scale this month. The worst flooding in living memory inundated large...

29 August 2018


Local perspectives for local lmplementation of the Sendai Framework

A special issue has launched at the 2018 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction entitled “Understanding Uncertainty: Views from Kachchh, Mumbai, and Sundarbans”.

20 July 2018