BC3. Basque centre for climate change – Klima aldaketa ikergai

Objective 6: Promoting integrated interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research

BC3 has strived for an interdisciplinary understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change in broad social-ecological contexts across geographical, temporal and governance scales. This includes the development of a shared vision to align with the proposed objectives 1-5. As a further key step BC3 is prepared for a transdisciplinary move towards solution seeking in ways that are co-designed with decision makers in the post-COP21 and SDG world. We propose promoting the incubation of innovative ideas through Strategic Integrative Projects (SIPs) either around topics or integrative methodologies/tools development. In that regard, two SIPs involving demand-driven integrated approaches focusing on multi-scaled, coupled human-natural system are envisaged. In addition, we will allocate resources for few Small Sherpa Projects (SSPs) to explore emerging innovative ideas.

Regarding the SIPS, the following ones are already foreseen:

Project 1: Addressing the land-food-health nexus towards sustainability

The coming decades will see challenges and unique opportunities regarding the integration of land, food and health policies in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges, and implementation of sustainable development goals. A key challenge lies again in the cross-sectoral nature and complex interlinkages between the various sustainable development dimensions. Given the pivotal role of local governments in fostering sustainability transitions, these issues are significant from the local to the International level, as they link climate change policies to multiscale developmental priorities. In the context of future scenarios, climate assessment models operate at different scales. And in many cases, focus on specific sectors ignoring the synergies and complex interactions between macro, meso and micro scales (e.g. global, country/region, farm/company/individual) and sectors (e.g. energy, land use, food, health). As a result, they provide partial and biased information on the costs and benefits of different mitigation pathways, and miss trade-offs and potential synergies, especially in relation to some of the most critical dimensions of climate change mitigation: land, food, energy and health. This becomes critical, since governments are now seriously moving towards the implementation of their National Determined Contributions (NDCs), and global stocktaking processes will be performed regularly to assess their progress.

So far, scientists have addressed some of these issues using methods drawn from specific disciplines. In contrast, BC3 will apply a systemic and multi-scale approach developed by coupling existing in-house modelling tools (e.g. GCAM, FASST, SIMSWASTE) that operate across different spatial scales (from the global to the farm level), and by integrating expertise from social, natural and health sciences that will allow us to explore this important nexus. As a first step, we will focus on analyzing the environmental, social (including health and behavior), economic and technological implications of food-related mitigation trajectories (at different levels and under different socio-economic and climate conditions). Land use issues, especially forestry, are recognized as vital to meet pledged emission reductions in many countries and to meet longer-term strategies.  To meet this need requires understanding of biological processes and potentials, but also socio-economic drivers and requires sound base careful planning to ensure equitable distributional outcomes and that food security and land rights of locals are not threatened, while impacts on human managed and natural land systems are also carefully considered. Examples of the use of this approach include determining external costs of the production of meat and dairy products for society, and assessing the potential of implementing changes from production systems together with changes in diets, in reducing net GHG emissions and potential impacts on human health, animal welfare, ecosystem goods and services, and land use competition. From the consumption side, we are starting to look to the environmental, climatic and health implications of behavioral changes in relation to diets and mobility choices. We have also started to work, in collaboration with FAO, on the analysis of global land use change in relation to the demand of biomass for food, energy and wood products. And we will also look into geospatially explicit information provided by International institutions (WRI) and government reporting (National Reports such as BURs, National Communications, GHGs Inventories, etc.). There are two ongoing relevant projects (TRANSRISK-H2020 EU and G-LUCA-FAO an H2020 proposal on this topic and continue working with FAOSTAT; four peer-review papers; two technical papers. (Leads: A. Del Prado, M. Gonzalez, I. Arto, A. Chiabai and M. J. Sanz)

Project 2: Integrated Modelling Partnership. 

Scientists in the past wrote data in notebooks. In the digital age, we need scientific data and models to be FAIR-Findable, Accesible, Interoperable and Reusable- to help individuals, businesses, and governments make informed decisions. A fully connected information landscape using open, safe, accurate “Wikipedia-like” sharing and linking of data and models can enable data-intensive science and decision making on a scale yet unimagined. Yet, the intellectual and technological means to this vision are in their infancy. With the ARIES project as the main motivation, BC3 has pioneered innovations that have the potential to make this vision reality, and have been catching the attention of major International institutions such as USGS, Conservation International and others. In response of the exploding interest in this research BC3 is building a network of institutions where each participant can secure, through yearly contributions of variable size, a share of ownership in the products of this research, being guaranteed a voice in the decision-making and prioritization of tasks and functionalities for software tools, custom training offers, and priority support in collaborations. BC3 will launched the Integrated Modelling (IM) Partnership by the end of 2017, bringing together institutions that will contribute to designing and building a fully integrated information landscape for the science of the future. This will allow supporting technical staff that can guarantee continued user satisfaction while allowing ARIES and IM to grow and guaranteeing resources for software development and maintenance. The four main sectors of the integrated modeling approach developed at BC3: Semantics ((BC3 has developed a base to define worldviews within which integration is practical, creating languages and tools to make the semantics of scientific observations easier to specify, understand, and use; Open, linkable data  (to provide an immediately actionable framework, with working infrastructure, to enable publishing of semantically annotated data as first-class research objects, so that they can be found online, read and understood by computers and humans alike); Open, linkable models (models powered by correct semantics, artificial intelligence cantransparently match the right data and models to the chosen time, place, problem, and scale allowing for the complexity of building and running models be handled by machines); Software infrastructure (the theoretical semantic integration work is complemented by anbuilt and maintained by the Partnership, including tools and interfaces for end users, modelers, and network administrators, and the IM will  provide and maintain documentation, community resources for discussion, user support and bug reporting, and are creating tools for participatory, graphical model building that can be directly translated into templates for working models).

The partnership will join institutions who will be able to influence the development and design of IM through participation to steering boards and will receive project support in collaborative projects, in amounts proportional to their contribution. Educational partners will be able to solicit IM training from BC3 personnel. All the products of the initiative will remain open source and available to everyone.  (Leads (within BC3): F. Villa, S. Balbi, J. Martinez and M. J. Sanz).


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