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A Conceptual Framework to Classify and Manage Risk, Uncertainty and Ambiguity: An Application to Energy Policy

Ludovic Gaudard () and Franco Romerio ()
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Ludovic Gaudard: Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Franco Romerio: Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland

Energies, 2020, vol. 13, issue 6, 1-22

Abstract: Global issues are such that we should assess and manage a variety of risks and uncertainties. Due to increasing world complexity, the development of an adequate and innovative conceptual framework, anchored in the literature, is required. This article contributes to this effort with an approach particularly relevant to decision-makers dealing with threats of different natures, limited heterogeneous information, and experts’ assessments tainted by doubts. Our approach is based on two pillars: 1) An “acuity scale”, based on the probability of the occurrence of an event, its impact and the experts’ degree of doubt; 2) A taxonomy focused on the concepts of risk, uncertainty, gamble and butterfly ambiguity. Accordingly, we present in a second step the major management implications of such approach. Global policy trends (e.g., sustainability transition) put energy sector decision-makers at the forefront of risk and uncertainty management. Consequently, we carry out a case study focused on Swiss energy policy since the 1980s, including its inception, the turnaround provoked by the Fukushima accident, and the government’s 2050 energy strategy. Our investigation shows that the proposed conceptual framework allows for the development of an original analysis of the main drivers that influence governmental policies and stakeholder strategies.

Keywords: energy policy; electricity; risk; uncertainty; ambiguity; acuity scale (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q4 Q40 Q41 Q42 Q43 Q47 Q48 Q49 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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