Decision-making and environmental risks
7.5 credits cr.
- Gå till denna sida på svenska webben
This is an interdisciplinary course on the theories and practices of environmental risk management decision-making.
It covers aspects of philosophy (ethics and decision theory), political science (decisions and policy development by organizations) and the natural sciences (science and risk management of climate change, air pollution, hazardous chemicals, and water management).
The course is developed with the aim to attract students with different backgrounds to further promote interdisciplinary interactions and learning.
In the first part of the course, environmental ethics is introduced, including an overview of how different values can be identified and incorporated into decision making on environmental risks. For example, how do we incorporate aspects of sustainability and the needs of future generations in today´s decisions?
The second part turns to decision theory and philosophy of science. It asks how values and facts should be combined in order to make rational decisions, and examines the role of science in providing objective risk assessments. This part also discusses how lack of information and other types of uncertainties can be managed.
This then follows by the perspective from political science and decision-making and policy development by organizations. Covering aspects like “group-thinking” and risk-benefit assessments.
The theoretical parts are complemented by lectures relating to the practices of science and risk management within four different environmental areas: climate change, air pollution and health, hazardous chemicals, and water management. For each environmental area a general background to the problem is provided and how science is generated to inform decisions. The strengths and weaknesses of different scientific methods and the nature and management of remaining uncertainties are discussed. This part also exemplifies actual decision processes and thereby relate the theories to actual practices.
The course is examined by a project work, in which the student identifies a relevant decision-maker and perform a semi-structured interview with that person. The purpose of this is to investigate how the decision theories are applied in practice and reflect on if and how actual decision-processes can be improved. The interviews are presented and discussed with the teachers and other students.
Christina Rudén, Christina.Ruden@aces.su.se
Department of Environmental Science, unit of Exposure & Effects
ScheduleThe schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.