Climate Futures Initiative

Climate Futures Initiative

The Climate Futures Initiative (CFI) is an interdisciplinary research program at Princeton University, administered by the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) and sponsored by PEI, the Princeton Institute for International Regional Studies (PIIRS) and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment (ACEE).

The initiative explores normative and positive approaches to the future of humankind, especially as that future is affected by climate change. The initiative features a wide-ranging dialogue across disciplines and world regions, with considerable attention to ethics. The emergent areas of study include:

  • the normative foundations and environmental and social consequences of climate policies;
  • the meaning of humanity’s collective future;
  • communication and action in the face of deep uncertainty;
  • the strengths and limitations of quantitative valuation for problems laced with fragile values;
  • international equity in the presence of global environmental constraints; and
  • virtue, moderation, and the good life

As a component of this research program, a study group led by Marc Fleurbaey and Robert Socolow is exploring refinements of current integrated assessment models that make ethical foundations explicit and that improve the treatment of inequalities and risks.

The initiative includes economists, political scientists, philosophers, scholars in the humanities, and environmental scientists. It is organized by Robert Socolow, Melissa Lane, and Marc Fleurbaey and is administered by PEI.  Steering committee members include: Jeremy Adelman, Bruno Carvalho, William Gleason, John Haldon, Brooke Holmes, Robert O. Keohane, Anne McClintock, Rob Nixon, Michael Oppenheimer, Stephen Pacala, V. "Ram" Ramaswamy, Eldar Shafir, Harold Shapiro, Peter A. Singer, Elke Weber, and David Wilcove.

The initiative is an outgrowth of a successful three-year (2011-2014) research community, Communicating Uncertainty: Science, Institutions, and Ethics in the Politics of Global Climate Change, sponsored by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS).