Imagining the Worst: Foresight, Ethics, and Extreme Climate Scenarios

Climate Change

The conference will examine the implications of future studies as they relate to the projection, modeling, and imaginaries of extreme climate events with a view to ask a series of ethical questions on what it means to think the unthinkable and imagine the worst.

Since the addition of climate change to international preoccupations, adequate response to climate change on behalf of the international community has raised serious ethical considerations. Clarifying who is responsible for doing what, and for whom, means understanding, among other difficult issues, the grounds of responsibility, the nature of knowledge, and the content of solidarity. The fact that climate change involves potentially catastrophic outcomes makes each of these questions harder to grasp.

Through its discussion and elaboration of “The Worst” within an ethical context, the Conference above all aims to promote ethically aware governance processes. The worst-case scenario is, by definition, unlikely to unfold. But its very possibility shapes the universe of ethical concern. Its inherent multi-faceted nature yields the need for multi-faceted policy in order to productively confront climate change on the international front.

Interdisciplinary in scope, the conference will provide a forum for foresight analysts, philosophers, ecologists, and policy experts to examine inter alia, questions of governance, risk culture, disaster prevention, and the production of fear and anxiety about the future. The conference will also focus on the implications of worst case scenarios on governance processes on national, regional (especially Southeast Europe) and global levels (e.g. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations and preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio 2012) with a view to bringing ethics to bear on climate policy governance.

The conference will, moreover, make ample use of interactive technologies and through a simultaneous webcast create the possibility of virtual global dialogue with stakeholders across the globe. In addition to “live” speakers, the conference will also include video messages from important figures in foresight and climate science, including most notably, a message from Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


Type of Event Category 8-Symposium
Start 01.03.2011 19:00 local time
End 03.03.2011 14:00 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point Crowley, John
Organizer UNESCO
Contact S. Romi Mukherjee,
Country Slovenia
City Bled
Venue Golf Hotel - Bled, Slovenia
Street Cankarjeva 4
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event English
Estimated number of participants 50
Official Website Imagining the Worst: Foresight, Ethics, and Extreme Climate Scenarios
Link 1 Agenda [PDF, 315 KB]
Link 2 UNESCO Ethics of Science and Technology Programme
Link 3
Link 4