It is widely accepted that climate change will have substantial impacts on both human society and the natural world. The resulting pressure to design and implement legislation regarding energy policy and carbon mitigation confronts governments, regional authorities, companies, and even private citizens as such decisions will aggregate trillions of dollars.

Given that no plausible policy will avoid all consequences, decision makers are also increasingly aware of the need to plan for a world with changed climate. Existing policy analysis tools to aid in decision-making are far from optimal, in particular in their treatment of the many uncertain factors regarding both the climate and the economy that make definitive projections impossible.

Recognizing this challenge, The University of Chicago, in partnership with several universities and national laboratories, has established the Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (the RDCEP Center). The Center has brought together experts in economics, physical sciences, energy technologies, law, computational mathematics, statistics, and computer science and we are currently working on a series of tightly connected research programs. Ultimately this research aims to improve the computational models needed to evaluate climate and energy policies, and to make robust decisions based on outcomes.

Mission and Values:

The Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy was established in September 2010 with the following mission:

  • To improve society’s ability to respond to climate change and energy supply challenges, by providing tools that allow policy makers to deal effectively with deep and pervasive uncertainty. This work will leverage the transformative characteristics of open source software, coupled with research, education, and outreach programs that integrate across disciplines and institutions.

In pursuing this mission, we are guided by this overarching vision:

  • To be the leading research center on computational methods for decision making under uncertainty.

NSF's Decision Making Under Uncertainty Program: 

RDCEP is being funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU) program.

The primary goal of DMUU is to "advance fundamental understanding of decision making under uncertainty for climate change and related long-term environmental risks." In addition, the Center is expected "to provide new knowledge about how public officials, firms in the private sector, other groups, and/or individuals can incorporate existing knowledge about climate change and related long-term environmental risks into their decisions."

In total, the NSF awarded funding to four university-based centers under the most recent DMUU program.

Additional information about the DMUU program can be found on NSF's web site.

 Other Centers funded under centers NSF Decision Making Under Uncertainty grant: