Doctoral Programme Climate Change – Uncertainties, Thresholds and Coping Strategies

Anthropogenic climate change has emerged as one of the main areas of concern in the 21st century. Strategies to deal with climate change and its possible consequences are imbued with uncertainty. The doctoral programme (DP) attempts to reach a better understanding of climate change uncertainties and, while doing so, to develop criteria for thresholds, namely critical points where a small change in a system suffices to induce a qualitative change in the system or in different systems. These considerations will be connected with the development and evaluation of possible strategies to cope with climate change.

The research projects of the DP will contribute to finding answers to three questions:

  1. How do we understand and deal with climate change uncertainties in the natural and social sciences as well as from the perspective of normative theories?
  2. What are critical thresholds of environmental, social and economic systems considering their vulnerability and how are these thresholds related to the normative threshold of sufficiency, that is, the threshold of well-being below which persons’ basic rights are infringed or violated?
  3. What are scientifically sound, technologically and institutionally feasible, economically efficient, and ethically defensible and sustainable strategies to cope with climate change, particularly taking into account the problems of implementation in an environment characterized by uncertainties and thresholds?

Answers to these research questions are challenging as they bridge multiple disciplines. Interdisciplinary dialogue and understanding constitutes the necessary basis of addressing the meaning and significance of the implications of climate change and the development of strategies to cope with them. One of the overarching goals of the DP is the development of concepts allowing the various disciplines to “speak with a common language”, while at the same time providing workable tools at the level of the disciplines which seem to be suitable for dealing with some of the most important challenges of the problems at hand. The interdisciplinary approach of the DP is reflected by not only the different disciplines involved (which include Philosophy, Systems Sciences, Physical Climate Sciences, Geosciences, and Economics) but also the interdisciplinary research experience of the faculty members.

The doctoral program will benefit from the exchange

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with BTH/Sweden and the whole alliance for strategic sustainable development.


Call for applications: