Journal of Transformation & Social Change, Volume 5.3, ISSN 1477-9633
Climate change: a complex societal process; analysing a problem according to the Compram methodology
Chair International Research Society on Methodology Societal Complexity,
P.O. Box. 3286, 1001 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe
Tel: +31 20 6927526 Email: email@example.com
DeTombe, D. (2008), ‘Climate change: a complex societal process; analysing a problem according to the Compram methodology’ Journal of Transformation & Social Change, 5.3, pp.235-266,doi:10.1386/jots5.3.235/1
In this article some issues about the theory of societal complexity are explained: what are complex societal problems and how should these be handled. The problem of climate change is used as an illustration. The Compram methodology is a methodology based on the theory of societal complexity that gives guidelines to handle real life complex societal problems such as climate change. Handling according to the Compram methodology supports defining and changing a complex societal problem in a sustainable way. In this article the focus of the methodology is on the relation between the steps in the Compram methodology and the problem-handling phases.
Keywords: theory of societal complexity, Compram methodology, climate change.
We like to use climate change as an example of thinking and handling on a real life problem and illustrated by this example some issues on the theory of societal complexity and the methodology of societal complexity: the Compram methodology.
Recently, the scientific debate on climate change is politically engaged and popularised. However, the topic is often oversimplified. More and more alarming publications on fast climate change appear in the media (Knip, 2007; Rosenthal, 2007; Gore, 2006; Gore, 2007). The issue of fast climate change, also referred to as global warming, already discussed in scientific circles for a long time (Brundtland, 1988; Legget, 1990), and put on the political agenda (Rio de Janeiro, 1992; Kyoto Protocol,1997; Davos, 2007), is recently popularized. The issue of climate change has become a popular, scientific, as well as, a political issue (Luttikhuis, 2007; De Rijk, 2007). Climate change is not only a concern for physics, but it also concerns the society as such (Becker, 1987, 1995, 2003; Utsumi, 2006). Climate change effects nature, which in turn affects people. This means, that political interventions should be considered. How should this be dealt with?
2 Is the climate changing?
In the last two decades, there are many debates on climate change (Beckman, 1992; Stuhler & DeTombe, 1999; IPCC, 2000; Geurts & Van Dorland, 2005). The milder temperature and the melting of the ice caps are considered indications of climate change, however, some people still question the issue and are not sure whether there is a climate change. The evidence of a faster than usual change is questioned by some people. Although the world’s climate changes regularly during the 4,5 billion years that the earth exists, it is the speed, in which the changes occurred in these last decades, that worries people. Our interest in the discussion on the climate issue is: when the climate is changing much faster than usual, what effect will this have on the living conditions of humans, animals and the vegetation? Is climate change a complex societal issue?
3 Is the climate issue a complex societal problem?
With a world wide debate on climate change our question is: ‘Is the climate issue a complex societal problem?’ If so, the issue should be addressed according to the theory of societal complexity (DeTombe, 1994).
To see just how climate change is a complex societal problem (see Figure 1) we follow the steps of the Compram methodology (see Figure 2) and the phases of the problem-handling process of societal complex problems (see Figure 3).
A complex societal problem is a real life problem, which has a large and often different impact on different groups of society. The problem has often an impact on all levels of the society on the micro, meso and macro levels (Phrase1).
It often seems that the problem suddenly ‘pops-up’. The problem is dynamic; it changes during its development. The future development of the problem is uncertain (Phrase 2).
It is difficult to become aware of the problem and difficult to put it on the political agenda. It is difficult to get grip on the problem; to handle the problem. Only changes are possible, no ‘solutions’ (Phrase 3).
The problem consist of many phenomena which are complicatedly intertwined with each other (Phrase 4)
The problem has knowledge, power and emotional components. Often there is a lack of knowledge, the data are incomplete, uncertain or in contradiction with each other. The problem is interdisciplinary and it takes theories from different fields to explain what is happening (Phrase 5).
There are many parties involved. Each party has a different view on the problem; a different definition of the problem, and has different goals and desires. The parties often have different ‘solutions’ to the problem. The different parties involved have different power over the problem (Phrase 6).
The problem often provokes much emotion in society (Phrase 7).
Figure 1 The Compram definition of societal complexity
step 1 analysis and description of the problem by a team of neutral content
step 2 analysis and description of the problem by different teams of actors
step 3 identification of interventions by experts and actors
step 4 anticipation of the societal reactions
step 5 implementation of the interventions
step 6 evaluation of the changes
Figure 2: The six steps of the Compram methodology
Sub-cycle 1: Defining the problem
phase 1.1 becoming aware of the problem and forming a (vague) mental idea phase 1.2 extending the rough idea by reflection and research
phase 1.3 putting the problem on the agenda and deciding to handle the
phase 1.4 forming a problem-handling team and starting to analyze the
phase 1.5 gathering data, exchanging knowledge and forming hypotheses phase 1.6 formulating the conceptual model of the problem
Sub-cycle 2: Changing the problem
phase 2.1 constructing an empirical model and establishing the desired goal phase 2.2 defining the handling space
phase 2.3 constructing and evaluating scenarios
phase 2.4 suggesting interventions
phase 2.5 implementing interventions
phase 2.6 evaluating interventions
Figure 3: The phases in the problem-handling process (DeTombe, 1994, 2001, 2003)
3.1 Phase 1.1 and 1.2 of the problem-handling process
For answering the question: ‘Is the current rapid climate change a complex societal problem?’, we have to compare the definition of societal complexity with the information we have on climate change.
Phrase1: A complex societal problem is a real life problem, which has a large and often different impact on different groups of society. The problem has often an impact on all levels of the society on the micro, meso and macro levels.
An answer to the first Phrase of the definition of societal complexity can be found by performing on phase 1.1 and phase 1.2 of the problem-handling process (see Figure 3). Phase 1.1 of the problem-handling process is awareness; awareness of the problem. Awareness of the problem is to be aware that there is a problem and that the problem is interesting enough to spend more time on, because it is, or can become, a complex societal problem, which means a problem that can cause much trouble, if not properly reacted upon. Being so much in the news, in the media: the daily news papers, television, in popular scientific journals as well as discussed in scientific journals, we are convinced, that there is a large public awareness of the climate issue; often addressed as climate change (Milieu en Natuur Planbureau, 2007a, p. 9).
Having established that
there is an awareness of the issue of climate change, one can continue the
problem-handling process with the second phase of the problem-handling process,
the phase of the mental idea. By reading, thinking and discussing about the
issue one gets a mental idea of the
Reading about climate change one sees, that the earth had many periods of
climate change, actually the climate changes all the time (Legget, 1990, p.20).
Take, for instance, The Netherlands, a country in Northern Europe, which at
present has a moderate sea climate. The ground of the Netherlands shows glacial
periods. The former cold period called ‘the small ice age’ was quite recently
from 1230 until
Climate changes in the past were not caused by human actions. They were caused by changing of solar activity, by volcanic activities, and were influenced by impact of meteorites. There have always been climate changes on earth and there probably always will be climate changes.
3.2 Indicators of recent faster climate change: global temperature rise
When the climate changes slowly, as most of the changes of the past, it is possible for most species to adapt. In that case it is not a complex societal issue, because it has not such an direct impact on society. It is only a complex societal issue, when changes go so fast that human interference is necessary to protect life, nature and goods. According to alarming messages predictions are, that, without changing policy, the temperature will rise 2 to 3 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years (Otten, 2005; Gore, 2006). This rising of the temperature is an indication for climate change.
3.3 What are the effects of the rising temperature?
The increasing temperature causes the melting of the permafrost. The open water around the North Pole and ice in the mountain areas, as in India and in the Alps, are melting, which makes the sea level rise. This can cause flooding in low coastal areas, such as in Asia: the coastal area of Bangladesh, and in Europe: in The Netherlands, in America: the area of New Orleans (see Schema 1) (IPCC, 2000, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c). Other effects of climate changes seem to be the more frequent and stronger hurricanes, the heavier winds and rainfalls in the northern hemisphere, and the dry out of large pieces of land. It also seems to have an influence on changing the biodiversity (Milieu en Natuur Planbureau, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c, 2007d).
Schema 1: Cause-effect of climate change
3.4 Why worry about the rising of the global temperature?
The rising of the sea level is a threat for low coastal areas. The Netherlands is a low coastal area, which is for more than 40 per cent under or round sea level (see Figure 4) (RIVM, 2004a, 2004b). For this country already a small rising of the sea level could, when combined with stormy weather in the direction of the coast, full moon and high tide, create a flood in large parts of the country. For a well organized and relatively rich country like The Netherlands, it is possible to cope with this threat. There is knowledge, skills and money enough to handle the new situation. For instance by enlarging the already existing artificial barriers, such as the dykes and flood barriers.
Figure 4: The Netherlands above and under sea level
However, for a developing country like Bangladesh, this could be an unmitigatable disaster. There is no money enough to protect the land from flooding, or, if necessary, to move people, living in the delta of the river, to a safer place of existence.
The main reason for worrying is, that, because of the fast rising of the temperature, it is very hard to be ready with the appropriate measures on time. The rich countries can adapt more easily and faster then the less developed countries. As in many other problems, the developing countries and regions (arctic) are suffering the most.
3.5 Causes of climate change
One reason for the rapid climate change is indicated to be caused by too much CO2 (carbon dioxide) emission. Although the main greenhouse gas emission CO2 (carbon dioxide) is not the only biogas emission that should be diminished. The other greenhouse gases that should be diminished are laughing gas (N2O nitrous oxide), methane (CH4) and F gases like fluorine/ containing gases as HFK, PFK, SF3 (see Figure 5). CO2 emission is mainly caused by burning fossil fuel. Burning tropical wood gives also a surplus of CO2 instead of absorbing CO2. Most serious methane gas emissions comes from cows.
Figure 5: Increase of greenhouse gases (source: NASA)
Human activities are the main cause of biogas emission: so called anthropogenic emissions (Milieu en Natuur Planbureau, 2007a). Human actions seems to be a major co-cause factor of the rapid climate change. The energy industry, to a high degree privatised, extracts from the earth huge amounts of fossil fuel to produce energy carriers such as oil, gas and cokes supplies. The energy industry sector is stimulated to supply ready to use energy via oil, gas and electricity by the demand of the general industry, the transportations systems (cars, trains, airplanes) and for business and private houses. In the past century the energy was mainly used by western consumption. A small part of humanity used, in the time span of a century, enormous amounts of fossil assets, which took the earth millions of years to create. And by doing this on such a large scale, caused, in conjunction with various reinforcing feedback processes, global warming. Fossil materials are the mutual inheritance of all humans; past, present and future. This is an example of privatizing the benefits for a few people and socializing the debts for all.
3.6 Is climate issue a complex societal problem?
Now that the mental idea on the climate change has been elaborated by reading, discussing and thinking one can continue the discussion ‘is the climate change issue a complex societal issue?’ Therefore we refer again to the Phrase 1 of the definition of societal complexity (see Figure1). We can concluded that the climate change has a large and varied impact on different groups of society. The problem has often an impact on all levels of society on micro, meso and macro level. The sea level is rising because of melting of perm frost. This has an impact on low coastal zones. This impact is negative for communities living in low coastal zones, but can have a positive effect on the flood prevention industry. Climate change has an impact on the whole world, on the macro level; on meso level: the level of the government; and on micro level; the level of a city, an individual tax payer or a coastal inhabitant.
Phrase 2: It seems often that the problem suddenly ‘pops-up’. The problem is dynamic; it changes during its development. The future development of the problem is uncertain.
Looking at Phrase 2 one sees that in the last five years the problem of climate change suddenly seems to ‘pop-up’. However, this is seen from a popular media point of view. This issue is already on the scientific agenda for more than two decades (Legget, 1990), and even longer. this issue is already discussed two centuries ago by Joseph Fourier (Fourier, 1827), John Tyndall (Tyndal, 1861) and by Svante Arrhenius (Arrhenius, 1896). The future development of the problem is uncertain.
Phrase 3: It is often difficult to become aware of the problem and difficult to put it on the political agenda. It is difficult to get grip on the problem; to handle the problem. Only changes are possible, no ‘solutions’.
Looking at Phrase 3 we see that it took a while before people became aware that a part of the CO2 emission cannot be absorbed completely in nature any more and that the residue provokes temperature changes all over the world. It took years to get a vague idea what is happening, what and who causes the changes, and what the effects are. Easy solutions are not to be found here. Total forbidding digging and using fossil fuel is no solution, because of political and economical reasons, unless there are acceptable substitutes.
Phrase 4: The problem consists of many phenomena which are complicatedly intertwined with each other.
In Schema 1 and 2 there is a chain of cause and effects indicating that many phenomena are involved which are complicatedly intertwined with each other.
digging fossils à burning fossil fuel à providing oil, gas and cokes à CO2 emission + other biogas emissions à absorbed by trees à absorbed by seas à residue of CO2 + other biogas emissions à reflecting by layer shield atmosphere à warmth returning to earth à temperature risingà
à smelting perm frost à rising of sea levelà floods in low coastal areas
à changing ocean currents
à influencing agricultural areas
à influencing habitat species
Schema 2: Causal chain of greenhouse emission
Phrase 5: Often there is a lack of knowledge, the data are incomplete, uncertain or in contradiction with each other. The problem is interdisciplinary and it takes theories from different fields to explain what is happening.
There is a lack of knowledge and the data are incomplete, uncertain or in contradiction with each other. What really is happening with the melting ice caps is not sure. What is the feedback effect of the changing of the warm and cold (under)current in the Atlantic ocean? What is the effect of climate change on human health? What is the effect on agriculture? How much is the amount of cultural land changing due to changes in rainfall and dry periods? What is the effect on different species? Are species vanishing, are new ones arriving? Are species moving to other areas because of the changing temperature? How are CO2, and the Ozone layer (O3) and climate change related (IPCC, 2007c)? How this really works is not very clear yet. Climate change is an interdisciplinary problem, which takes different fields to explain what is happening. Knowledge about this problem comes from different disciplines such as the field of geology which has knowledge about the fossil remains and layers, the field of mining and drilling (digging fossil fuel), the field of chemistry on knowledge on burning fossil fuel and processing this into oil, gas and cokes for energy, knowledge on bio gas emissions, the field of energy industry on knowledge about production of energy from fossil fuel and from alternative energy sources, the field of economy, which has knowledge on prices of energy and alternative energy, the field of law on knowledge about rules, regulations, restrictions and steering elements, the field of political sciences on knowledge about world wide organizations, policy of energy producing states, on how the climate issue influences the next elections in different countries, the field of psychology on knowledge on emotions like fear and anger and the willingness to use alternative energy or to accept a more sustainable living (DeTombe, 2008), knowledge from the field of sociology to see how groups react, knowledge from the field of biology on the effect of climate change on different species and the field of agriculture on food production. Theories of different disciplines are needed to understand what is going on.
Phrase 6: There are many parties involved. Each party has a different view on the problem; a different definition of the problem, and has different goals and desires. The parties often have different ‘solutions’ to the problem. The different parties involved have different power over the problem.
Which parties, actors, stakeholders are involved in the problem of climate change? Many parties are involved as for instance mining companies, energy industry, oil and gas companies, like Shell and Esso, transportation industry, local and general governments, agricultural businesses, water management industry, companies in flood prevention and coastal preserve.
Phrase 7: The problem often provokes much emotion in society.
We see that in the media (Gore, 2006) as well as on the decision level (NRC, 2007) the issue of climate change provokes much emotions. People are feeling uncertain, uneasy, provoked, angry, and worried about the climate issue, or on the other hand, see opportunities to earn money. This includes the emotion mentioned in Phrase 4.
In conclusion we can say that climate change is a real life problem. It has indeed a large and varied impact on different groups of society. The problem has an impact on all levels of society micro, meso and macro level. It seems that the problem suddenly ‘popped-up’. The future development of the problem is uncertain. It is difficult to become aware of the problem (Beckman, 1992) and difficult to put it on the political agenda.
It is difficult to get grip on the problem and to handle the problem. Only changes are possible, no ‘solutions’. The problem consists of many phenomena, which are complicatedly intertwined with each other. The problem has knowledge, power and emotional components. Often there is a lack of knowledge, the data are incomplete, uncertain or in contradiction with each other. The problem is interdisciplinary. It includes knowledge about energy, water, vegetation, woods, agriculture (Boere, 2007a; Boere, 2007b; Boere, 2007; Boere, & Fokkens, 2007), land protection, chemical reactions, sea levels and ocean currents and political knowledge. It needs theories from different fields to explain what is happening. There are many parties involved. Each party has a different view on the problem, a different definition of the problem, and has different goals and desires towards the problem. The parties often have different ‘solutions’ for the problem. The different parties involved have different power over the problem. The problem provokes much emotion in society. Based on this we can conclude that the climate issue is a complex societal problem. Therefore one should address this issue according to the theory of societal complexity (DeTombe, 1994).
4 Phase 1.3 of the problem-handling process: putting the issue on a political agenda and take the decision to handle it: the problem owner
Now that we have concluded that the climate issue is a complex societal issue we continue the discussion with phase 1.3 of the problem-handling process: putting the issue on the political agenda by a problem owner and see whether there is a willingness to handle the issue. After becoming aware that there is something going on with the climate issue which can have serious implications like the rising of the sea level due to the melting of the ice caps, one could decide that this must be put on a political agenda. The issue should be put on the agenda of the legitimate problem owner. Then the question is: ´On which political agenda should the issue be placed?´ Who, which institute is a legitimate problem owner of this issue of the climate change?
In the case of climate change the legitimate problem owner is not defined yet. The problem owner should be found on the macro level: a world wide recognized authority; authorized by the majority of states. It can be a temporarily cooperation like that of the Kyoto conference in 1997 or Bali conference in 2007. When it is not possible to start directly on the appropriate level, a start at a lower level can be considered. The political pressure group which is aware of the problem, and which can consists of a group of actors, can put pressure on a problem owner to put the issue on her/his political agenda. The pressure group can also try to form a cooperation on macro level. When the problem owner is indicated, or created, the political pressure group can lobby to put this problem on her/his political agenda. Then the problem owner can discuss, whether there is enough political interest and willingness to start handling the complex societal issue.
5 The Compram methodology: a method to handle societal complexity
When it has been decided to handle the complex societal issue, it should be handled according to a theory of societal complexity. The Compram methodology, which is based on a theory of societal complexity, is developed to handle complex societal problems. The legitimate problem owner can now give an assignment to a facilitator to address the issue based on the directions of the Compram methodology. The Compram methodology is based on the idea that complex societal problems involve three basic elements: knowledge, power and emotion.
5.1 Three basic in the Compram methodology elements knowledge, power and emotion.
Knowledge includes lack of knowledge, data with an uncertain status, missing data, contradictory data, white spots and blind spots. Knowledge includes knowledge of the disciplines involved, field knowledge, and knowledge about the actors and the phenomena. Complex societal problems involve many disciplines, many fields, many phenomena and many actors. One person is not able to comprehend all the knowledge needed for handling a complex societal problem. The knowledge needed to analyze and handle is too complicated. The way Compram deals explicitly with knowledge is to start analyzing the problem with a team of experts. This team must analyze the problem and find interventions. Each expert has a part of the knowledge. The team of experts together has knowledge of the disciplines involved, knowledge about the fields, knowledge about the actors, and knowledge about the phenomena. The experts have the ability to interpret the knowledge from other areas and determine the knowledge on consequences in their own field of expertise. The knowledge experts are, in contrast to the actors, neutral towards the outcome of the problem handing process.
At several moments in the problem-handling process the Compram methodology deals explicitly with power. Power is another basic element in handling complex societal problems. The Compram methodology deals with power differences by starting the problem-handling process with a neutral knowledge expert team in order to neutralize the knowledge. This is step 1 of the Compram methodology (see Figure 2). The expert team prevents at an early stage of the problem-handling process, that certain solutions are stimulated at the expense of other solutions. Working with experts first means that there are less chances that important issues are overlooked. Complex societal problems involve actors. The actors have direct interest in certain kinds of outcome of the problem. The expert team analyzes the power and steering instruments of the actors.
The Compram methodology includes the power of the actors by inviting them to the problem-handling process in step 2. The actors define in this step the problem, their handling space and their desired goals. Each actor group does this with their own team. Power plays an important role in coming to an agreement between actors. Each actor has its own steering instruments to support, change or prevent changes.
The Compram methodology deals with societal power in step 4 by giving the society a chance to react on the selected interventions before implementing the interventions carefully.
Emotion is the third basic component in handling complex societal problems. Emotions are everywhere in societal problems. There are emotions in with the people who effected by this problem, in a positive or negative way, in the media as well as in the problem-handling process itself. Emotions can stimulate or block certain changes. Emotions play a role or become visible when one’s personal interest is attacked (Frijda, 1986).
Emotions are involved in different views on society and prioritizing certain changes.
The media can provokes many emotions by a certain way of reporting about the climate issue.
Complex societal problems are handled by teams of people. Where people are involved, emotions are involved. Emotions are included in like and dislike of persons in the team. Emotions play a role in reaching a certain goal, or in being included or excluded in a problem-handling process. Negative emotions can be provoked by excluding persons from the problem-handling process. Including the actors at an early stage in the problem-handling process can prevent (avoidable) obstruction later on in the problem-handling process.
The Compram methodology deals with emotions by prescribing that the process is led by a well skilled facilitator, trained in handling group processes, in order to avoid unnecessary group conflicts.
5.2 The six steps in the Compram methodology
The Compram methodology consists of six steps (see Figure 2). These six steps give the main guidelines for handling a complex societal problem. Within the steps there is room for applying all kind of methods and tools.
In the first step, the problem is analyzed and described by a team of neutral content experts. In the second step, the different actors analyze and define the problem. The third step is where the experts and actors try to find interventions, that are mutually acceptable. In the fourth step the societal reactions of the selected interventions are anticipated. In the fifth step the interventions are implemented. Then in step six the changes are evaluated from the original perspective as well of the perspective of the problem as it changed during the process. Also the problem-handling process itself is evaluated in this step.
6 Step 1 of the Compram methodology and phases 1.4 to 2.4 of the problem-handling process
In the following part we continue to explain the handling of a complex societal problem with the Compram methodology, indicating the relation between the steps in the Compram methodology and the phases of the problem-handling process. The steps should not be confused with phases in the problem-handling process (see Figure 3).
The first step of the Compram methodology consist of the problem-handling phases 1.4 to phase 2.4 (see Figure 3). We start the discussion with step 1 of the Compram methodology and the problem-handling phase 1.4.
6.1 Step 1.1 of the Compram methodology and phase1.4 of the problem-handling process: the facilitator and the experts
The Compram methodology starts at the moment the problem owner asks a facilitator to handle the problem according to the directions of the Compram methodology. This is step 1.1 of the Compram methodology and phase 1.4 of the problem-handling process.
The facilitator starts the process of problem-handling by introducing her/himself to the content of the issue in charge (DeTombe, 1996). The facilitator starts the process by orienting him or herself on the problem by reading, discussing and thinking on the issue of climate change and by interviewing people who have special knowledge on the different elements of the climate issue. At the start of the process, it may not be clear which fields, phenomena, actors and groups are involved. In that case, the facilitator undertakes in-depth interviews with the experts and actors that are known, in order to gain more information about the elements, that ought to be involved. In the case of climate change, this can be experts with knowledge of energy industry and alternative energy sources, of water affairs, of agriculture, of flood protection, of bio gases, of sea level changes and ocean currents, and of political affairs. Milieu en Natuur Planbureau (MNP, 2007) indicates that
‘the climate issue is not a stand alone issue. The only chance to save biodiversity and to mitigate the climate change is a multidiscipline integrated international cooperative approach of the poverty and development issue, the space and biodiversity issue and the energy and climate issue (page vii- xxv).’
After this orientation the facilitator writes a report ‘Introduction to the problem of climate change’ and indicates in the report which knowledge fields are involved in this issue and which experts of which field should be invited for the problem-handling process. The process of cooperative problem-handling begins by selecting by the facilitator, in cooperation with the problem owner, a team of ‘neutral’ experts of the fields mentioned in the report. The selection of the experts depends on the major fields, phenomena, actors and other groups, that are involved in the problem.
The experts must agree on the way the problem-handling process is guided. Therefore, the method has to have credibility (DeTombe, 2000b). Before starting the problem-handling process the experts should be introduced to the way the problem will be guided.
Experts from the different knowledge fields are invited by the facilitator to join the problem-handling process. To make the discussion possible the number of experts in the problem-handling group is from twelve to fifteen persons. Each expert has knowledge on a part of the problem. Their view on the problem is coloured by their own field (see Figure 6). In several rounds of discussion, experts give lectures to each other, and are invited by the facilitator to find more information about their field on the subject of climate change (DeTombe, 1994, chapter 8).
Figure 6: Each expert sees only part of the problem
The reason to invite the experts to discuss the problem together is that each expert can explain his/her knowledge part to the other experts. In this way every expert can interpret the new information directly into their own knowledge about the subject. In this way a food expert can explain to an economist, what can happen to the world sources of grains because of climate change. In return the economist can explain, what happens with the prices of food due to this change, then the expert of politics can explain, how this might effect the world stability, and the psychologist, what the effect will be on people. Each expert is supported by a support group of persons from her/his own field, in which he/she can discuss the issues discussed in the problem-handling group.
6.2 Why invite experts instead of actors
One could wonder why not start the problem-handling process directly with the actors instead of starting with the experts? The reason for this is, that experts are supposed to be neutral towards a certain kind of ‘solution’ to the problem, while actors have a direct interest in a kind of definition of the problem and interest in a specific kind of solution. When actors are directly invited, there is a reasonable chance, that the problem will be defined towards the direction of the desired goal of the most powerful actor, ignoring the demands and wishes of the less powerful groups.
6.3 The role of the facilitator
The facilitator is responsible for the entire problem-handling process from step one in the Compram methodology till step six, or sooner if the problem owner decides to stop the problem-handling process. The facilitator, as a representative of the problem owner, should make it clear to the people in the problem-handling process, what the goal of the problem owner is. When the problem owner is a world wide organisation on climate change, the goal of the problem owner can be something like: ‘What is happening with the climate?’ or even further ‘How can we put a halt to fast climate change?’. The facilitator is neutral towards a certain solution. For instance, the facilitator is not allowed to steer the discussion to a certain technological solution that the firm X offers for this problem. The facilitator should not benefit certain actors over others.
The qualities of the facilitator are of utmost importance for the success of the problem-handling process. Has the facilitator used the optimal tools to smoothen the knowledge exchange? Can he/she handle the emotional processes in the problem-handling process? Can the facilitator see to it that no information stays behind, that hidden agendas are avoided and power games not played? This demands many qualities of a facilitator, who has to have knowledge on methods and tools to facilitate the knowledge exchanges as well as qualities to handle the problem handle process functionally and emotionally. Special skills are needed in the problem-handling process by using a special support tool such as simulation models. The facilitator can invite outside experts to the problem-handling process in making this model or by explaining existing models. In this way, the problem-handling process stays open for support on special skills the facilitator lacks in the process.
6.4 Step 1.2 of the Compram methodology and phase1.4 of the problem-handling process: each expert gives her/his point of view on the climate issue
By combining the knowledge of all the experts, created by exchanging knowledge with each other, the experts come to a better insight in the problem. The experts discuss the problem with each other during six to twelve meetings, often preparing each meeting by finding new information supported by discussions with their support group (DeTombe, 1994, chapter 8).
The task of the facilitator is to make it possible for all the experts to understand each other by supporting the problem-handling process with a knowledge exchange and communication tool. This is done with the seven-layer model (see Figure 7) (DeTombe, 1994). The seven-layer model is the central communication tool of the Compram method. The seven-layer model is a model of knowledge exchange and meant to support communication. The seven-layer communication tool is especially developed to ease the communication of a multi-disciplined team of problem handlers. The knowledge can be expressed in different ways in a seven-layer model to maximize mutual understanding and communication about the problem. The expert team expresses their definition of the problem using this seven-layer model guided by the facilitator.
In the seven-layer model the problem can be expressed in different ways, using different models and different languages. In this way, the multi disciplinary problem-handling team can understand each other, meanwhile use their own familiar way of expressing the problem. Expressing the problem in different ways and in different languages makes it easier to see what is missing. It helps to adjust the models and to make clear how phenomena are related.
Natural language is the start of defining the phenomena and concepts, and of making a semantic model. The semantic model, in turn, makes it easier to adjust the description of the problem. The seven-layer model is also created to avoid some of the often occurring pitfalls, such as verbalism and collective blind spots.
Figure 7: The seven-layer communication model
In Layer I the problem is described in a natural language, in words, each team member understands.
In Layer II the concepts and the phenomena used in the description of the problem in Layer I are defined. In this way the team members are stimulated to operationalize and define the concepts and phenomena they use. This gives other team members the opportunity to learn the concepts of other professions, and its prevents verbalism.
In Layer III the relations between the concepts and the phenomena of the problem are described in natural language. These relations can be based on theories, hypotheses, assumptions, experiences or intuition. This indicates the status of the knowledge. This Layer is related to the description of the problem in Layer I, to the definition of the concepts and the phenomena in Layer I and to Layers IV, V, VI, and VII.
Layer IV shows the knowledge islands. This is a graphic representation of the knowledge of the problem that is needed for handling the problem. The way the knowledge islands are filled indicates the completeness of the knowledge.
In Layer V a semantic model of the problem is made. A semantic model is a graphic representation of the relations between the concepts and the phenomena of the problem described in Layer I.
In Layer VI a graphic representation of the causal relations between the concepts and the phenomena of the problem is shown.
Layer VII contains a system dynamic model of the problem based on the causal model in Layer VI. The system dynamic model contains non-linear connections because of the repetitive interactions between the phenomena and the actors in the model.
Parts of the problem and of the different domain knowledge can be worked out in more detail in sub-sheets of the Layers I to VII. The sub-sheets of one domain are internally connected and are externally connected to the overall problem. It is often necessary to focus on a part of the problem in detail to get a better view, otherwise the models are too large to comprehend. The seven-layer model can be used to support the first sub-cycle of the problem-handling process as well as the second sub-cycle (see DeTombe, 1994) (see Figure 3).
7 Step 1.3 of the Compram methodology and phase 1.5 of the problem-handling process: data gathering, exchanging knowledge and forming hypotheses: by the experts
In the phase 1.5 of the problem-handling process the experts, stimulated by the facilitator, elaborate the description of the problem by data gathering and data mining, guided by the hypotheses they have formulated together and each one in his/her own field, on the relation between the phenomena on the subject of climate change. At several moments in the problem-handling process outside experts are invited to reflect on the discussion and the models. These experts have the role of the devil´s advocate.
8 Step 1.4 of the Compram methodology and phase 1.6 of the problem handing process: formulating the conceptual model of the problem, defining the problem by the experts
Phase 1.6 of the problem handing process is formulating the conceptual model of the problem. The rounds of discussion of the experts, guided by the facilitator, finish after an iterative process of filling the seven-layer model until the experts have the idea that they know relatively enough on the issue in charge. With filling the seven-layer model the experts have made the conceptual model of the problem, and with this, defined the problem. With the description of the problem, in all Layers of the seven-layer model, the problem is defined. In formulating the conceptual model of the problem, all relevant aspects of the problem are described: from the development of the problem in the past, to the contemporary situation of the problem, till the possible development of the problem in the future, given that there is no (successful) intervention. Included in the definition of the problem is an overview of the actors involved, including which actors will benefit and which will suffer from the climate change.
The concluding report of the definition of the problem will be made. In this report is described: the problem owner, the problem-handling process, the tasks and activities of the facilitator and a summary of the reports of each problem-handling phase including the discussions and the decisions of each problem-handling round. Before the definition of the problem is described in an extended report, an outside expert will be invited to reflect on the definition and her-his remarks will be taken into account.
The outcome of the discussion in the first part of the problem-handling process, phase 1.1 to phase 1.6, the definition of the problem, is not absolute. In discussing a complex societal issue items are missed, overseen and not known (DeTombe,1992). The quality of the problem-handling process is dependent of the quality of the facilitator, and the selected members of the problem-handling teams, the experts and actors (DeTombe, 1999).
The quality of the problem-handling process depends also on the quality of the group of experts. Are adequate experts invited? At the start of the problem-handling process there is a moment of contemplation to reflect, whether the right experts are invited. There is a possibility to replace experts or to invite other experts. Selecting high quality experts and finding them available and willing to support the problem-handling process demands many special skills of the facilitator.
The quality of the problem-handling process depends also on the power and qualities of the actors. Are the right actors included in the problem-handling process and are important actors not overseen?
When the problem is vague and very complicated, and given that the outcome of the problem-handling process is relative, it could be valuable to have an other problem-handling team, supported by an other facilitator, to handle the same issue at the same time. After the definition of the problem the conceptual models of the two problem-handling teams can be compared and then discussed by the problem-handling groups on similarities and differences.
9 Step 1.5 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.1 of the problem-handling process: constructing the empirical model of the problem and establishing the desired goal
Now that the problem is defined, the problem can be changed. Phase 2.1 is the first phase of changing the problem (see Figure 2). We use the term changing a problem instead of solving a problem, because a solution depends on which party you are. A solution for one party can be the start of a problem for another party.
After the iterative process of defining the problem, the experts will, with the support of the facilitator and external experts, fill the seven-layer model with empirical data, thus making an empirical model of the problem. In this phase of the handling process the facilitator asks the experts, to consult the data specialists in their field to fill the conceptual model with real life data. The experts discuss together the outcome of the empirical model. The empirical model should be as near to reality as possible. Often it is much too difficult for the experts to make the empirical model, so specialists are invited to make the empirical model together with the experts including all the phenomena of the conceptual model. In case of using existing models, it is crucial that these empirical detailed models are completely understood by the experts and that all the phenomena of the conceptual model are included. In the case of climate change, there are existing world models, however often these models lack the societal aspects (Utsumi, 2008).
In the second part of phase 2.1 the experts are asked to reflect on the desired goal. Towards which goal and into what direction should the problem be changed? Which goals seems reasonable to be reached in the near by period, which goals seem reasonable to be reached in the long run? At the end of this phase the experts are invited to formulate the difference between the contemporary situation and the desired situation. The experts will formulate into which direction the situation should be changed, and which are the obstacles to overcome. The facilitator makes a report of this phase as is done in all the other phases and steps. It is not necessary to have a consensus among the members of the problem-handling group. It is possible to maintain a minority point of view, if well argued.
10 Step 1.6 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.2 of the problem-handling process: exploring the handling space by experts
After constructing the empirical model, the next step in the problem-handling process is to define the handling space. The handling space is a special point of attention in the Compram methodology. Defining the handling space enables one to define how much and what can be changed in order to reach, or to approach, the desired situation (DeTombe, 1994).
The handling space is a metaphor; a mental construct. It is the space where interventions of the problem will be searched, that might lead towards the desired situation. The handling space limits the space in which, and to what extent, the problem can be changed. The handling space is a different concept from the term 'problem space' of Newell & Simon (1972). The handling space as such is indifferent to whether the change will actually lead to the desired situation. One can only think that it will. The handling space can be described in terms of levels and kinds of constraints.
10.1 Four levels of handling space
In changing complex interdisciplinary societal problems one has to take many constraints into account. These constraints narrow the handling space. To be able to indicate the different ranges of possibilities for changing the problem, we distinguish different levels handling space.
The first level of handling space is the most restrictive level: the fourth level allows the most freedom from the existing situations.
At the first level of handling space the interventions of the problem will be searched for within the current situation. At this most restricted level the whole situation remains in principle as it is with only relatively small changes within the existing situation. This idea comes close to what is colloquially called 'muddling through'. At societal level this includes new laws, a better infrastructure, and changes in pensions for the elderly.
The second level of handling space allows more changes in the contemporary situation, although not too many, but the changes can be larger. There is more space to handle the problem and there are more possibilities for change.
The third level of handling space broadens the possibilities as wide as can be, but still within the 'normal' possibilities of mankind and nature. On the societal level this involves fundamental changes in organizations, in politics and even in the way people think, hope and believe. This can constitute a totally new form of society.
The fourth level of handling space abandons the constraints of human possibilities and escapes into imagination. It is a level that can no longer be fruitfully implemented, but the most can be used to 'unfreeze' people in the problem-handling process. The distinction between level one, two and three is gradual. From changes within the existing situation (level one) to major changes of the situation (level two) to a whole new approach of living (level three). The distinction between the first three levels and the fourth level, however, is qualitative. Here, the levels of constraint pass from realistic (level one to three) to unrealistic (level four).
In practice many problems are handled within the first level of handling space; the present situation, where only slight changes are allowed. The interventions will, in principle, not fundamentally change the situation. Sometimes an intervention cannot be found at the first or second level, in which case one should raise the level of handling space. When the level of handling space is too restricted, it will not be possible to find a satisfactory change. Than in order to reach the desired situation, the range of possibilities should be enlarged. Special effort has to be taken to unfreeze people in order to stimulate thinking about new ideas and different possibilities.
10.2 Kinds of constraints
Besides levels of handling space, there are different kinds of constraints: financial constraints, political constraints, psychological constraints, geographical constraints, physical constraints, time constraints and so forth. Each of these constraints can be located at the different levels. Examples are:
Financial constraints: some interventions are too expensive to be implemented. Organizational constraints: some interventions cannot be organized given the situation. Political constraints: some interventions cannot be carried out because it is politically not possible at that moment. Time constraints: a change of the problem has to be found within three months.
It is very important to realize the time, money, scale and power limitations of the problem-handling process, given this particular problem owner and this specific period. Often the power of the problem owner is too limited to really be able to change something. At this moment of the problem-handling process, the experts have to discuss whether the problem owner has enough power to change a relevant part of the problem together with the actors or whether the problem should be given back to the problem owner and be put on another problem owners agenda, who can handle the issue on another level of the handling space. When the problem is given back, the experts, together with the facilitator, make a report in which the whole problem-handling process is described, including the reasons to put this on another problem owner´s agenda, with suggestions how this could be done. Then the problem-handling process restarts with phase 1.4 of the problem-handling process and step 1.7 of the Compram methodology under super vision of an other problem owner.
If the problem owner has enough power and adequate means to handle the issue, the problem-handling process can continue. Most problems are handled in the ‘here and now’ situation; this means within the first handling space.
11 Step 1.7 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.3 of the problem-handling process: constructing and evaluating scenarios by experts
In this phase of the problem-handling process the experts are constructing and evaluating scenarios. Depending on the time schedule of the problem-handling process three or more scenarios can be evaluated.
In scenarios experts discuss with each other, guided by the facilitator, what might happen in the future. A scenario question could be: ‘What happens when the contemporary situation continues in the same speed of changes as the last five years?’, ‘What happens when the contemporary situation is increasing faster?’, ‘What happens when the contemporary situation improves?’, or scenario questions like: ‘What happens if climate stays the same at the level of last year’, or ‘What happens when the climate temperature rises 1 degree Celsius over normal?’, or ‘What happens when the climate temperature rises 2 degrees Celsius over normal?’. Having selected some scenarios and evaluated these scenarios a report of the problem-handling process in this phase is made. Again experts from outside are invited to reflect on the scenarios and re-evaluate them. Are the right and relevant scenarios selected? Are the right conclusions drawn?
12 Step 1.8 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.4 of the problem-handling process: suggesting interventions by experts
The experts, guided by the facilitator, discuss interventions which could lead to a change of the problem towards the desired goal. Needed and likely interventions can be discussed. The needed interventions will lead to the desired goal and the likely interventions include an estimation of the real life situation and the powers and desires of the actors. Discussed will be which actor will support the needed changes and which actor will obstruct. To give an example. A possible intervention to mitigate the climate change could be a diminishing of the CO2 output in the atmosphere. This can be done by looking at alternatives for sources of energy, such as nuclear power energy, wind energy (Pruyt, 2007), solar power and hydro power. These suggestions are on the first level of the handling space. The discussion of the experts might stop here by giving directions on the first level of handling space for more sustainable energy. It is also possible to start a discussion about the idea of sustainable development as such, including changing views on quality of life by, for instance, changing the definitions of economy, in which economy is not only based on money assets, but includes also cultural capital, social capital, economic capital, symbolic capital and sustainable capital (Bourdieu, 1992; DeTombe, 2004, 2008). This demands level two of the handling space. Level two of the handling space takes more time to be accepted by the policy makers and by the people, and more time to be implemented. It takes more time to reach this and it is more difficult to reach it.
At this point in the problem-handling process the facilitator writes a report about the whole problem-handling process. In this document is reported the description of the problem, the contemporary situation of the issue, several scenarios and suggestions for interventions, including the assumed cooperation and obstruction of the actors. This is all written from the point of view of the selected experts.
13 Step 2.1 of the Compram methodology and phase 1.4 of the problem-handling process: inviting the actors
The experts can only advise. The advise given in the report made at the end of phase 2.4. The experts do not have the power to implement their suggestions. The problem owner has no power neither to implement the suggestions either, nor does a single actor have the power to make these changes if wanted. The problem owner and all the actors together are needed to make fruitful changes. Therefore, the actors have to be invited in the problem-handling process. The climate issue has to be reflected by the actors. The actors have the power to realize change, or to prevent changes.
Actors have, in contradiction to the experts, a direct interest in the goals and outcomes of the problem-handling process. The problem affects them directly. Two kinds of actors can be distinguished: well-organized groups and less or unorganized groups. Both groups could be affected by the problem-handling process. The well-organized actors coordinate their interests and try to influence the problem-handling process often actively. Less and unorganized groups, like the people in rural areas, single mothers, children, are affected by the problem and thus have an interest in the outcome of the problem, but they do not have a particular defender of their interests. In theory, policy makers should take care of the interests of both groups, the well-organized and the less-organized groups, however, in practice, it is exceptional that the interests of the unorganized groups are taken just as seriously as those of the well-organized groups.
The actors, involved in the problem-handling process, have each their own view on the problem, their own definition of the problem and their own goals. Often the well-organized actors have hidden agendas.
In the Compram methodology, both, the actors and the unorganized groups, are invited to join the problem-handling process at an early stage in the problem-handling process (DeTombe, 2000a). The actors must agree on the way the problem-handling process is guided, so before starting the problem-handling process the actors should be introduced to the way the problem will be guided.
Action groups should also be invited the problem-handling process. In general action groups have much knowledge about the issue. They often have certain powers to prevent or stimulate certain interventions. Inviting action groups at an early stage in the problem-handling process prevents obstruction by these groups later on in the problem-handling process.
The relevant actors are indicated by the experts in the conceptual model of the problem; sometimes additional actors are noticed during the further discussions of the problem-handling process. The main influential and affected actors are selected. Powerful actors are affected by the issue, but they are not the only ones. Other groups are affected as well, and may be even more; groups which are not powerful and not well represented. Less powerful groups like, for instance, groups in developing countries, like people in Bangladesh, are not well represented in most kind of problem-handling processes. It is the task of the facilitator in the Compram methodology to seek representatives of these powerless and/or not well organized groups, and to invite them join the problem-handling process.
Each actor is
approached by the facilitator and invited to the problem-handling process. The
actor is invited to come with a group of their people. The facilitator guides
each group of actors separately through the problem-handling phase 1.4 to
13.1 Step 2.2 of the Compram methodology and phase 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 of the problem-handling process: formulating the problem by the actors
There will be around eight to twelve actor groups invited. Each group of actors will separately fill in the seven-layer model during several rounds of discussion on the problem of climate change by exchanging knowledge, formulating hypotheses and data gathering supported in the same way as the experts by the facilitator. This are the phases 1.4 and 1.5 of the problem-handling process. In phase 1.6 the actors discuss their definition of the problem, described in the seven-layer model in the same way as the experts (see Figure 7). At this moment in the problem-handling process it becomes clear how this actor group sees the problem.
13.2 Step 2.3 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.1 of the problem-handling process: filling the empirical model and formulated the desired goal by the actors
In phase 2.1 of the problem-handling process each actor group fills the conceptual model with empirical data. This process can be supported by simulation specialists. In these phase the actors are also invited to formulate their desired goal. This makes it clear into which direction this actor wants the problem to be changed.
13.3 Step 2.4 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.2 of the problem-handling process: discussing the handling space by the actors
In phase 2.2 the actor gives his or her opinion on which level of handling space the problem should be handled, and discuss the constrains. Each actor group decides what their limits in time, money and people are.
13.4 Step 2.5 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.3 of the problem-handling process: discussing scenarios by the actors
In this phase the actors, guided by the facilitator, discuss some possible scenarios.
13.5 Step 2.6 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.4 of the problem-handling process: discussing interventions by actors
Based on a comparison between the contemporary situation and their desired goal, each actor group gives suggestions for interventions. These suggestions can be actions for themselves or suggestions for other actors, such as diminishing CO2 emission, or make some technical devices, for instance, for building hydro power plants. Often the government is asked to support the actor by subsidizing or by decreasing tax.
This is the last part of step 2 of the Compram methodology. Now the facilitator makes a report of each actor group with its consent, and describes their results of the problem-handling process and evaluate the problem-handling process.
The facilitator performs these problem-handling processes separately for each actor group. At the end of step two of the Compram methodology the facilitator has the view of all the relevant actors in the problem-handling process on the issue of climate change.
14 Step 3 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.4 of the problem-handling process: the experts and actors together: the power game
14.1 Step 3.1 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.4 of the problem-handling process: comparing the points of view between the actors and between the actors and the experts by the experts
Now that the facilitator has an overview of the way the experts and the relevant actors reflect the issue, the facilitator makes a report of the similarities and the differences between the view of the actors and a comparison between the actors and that of the experts towards the issue of climate change. This can be done by comparing the final reports of all groups. Each group has used the same way of defining the problem by using the seven-layer model (see Figure 7), and each group has described the desired goals, the handling space, the scenarios and interventions. This makes it easier to compare the results. The facilitator compares all these issues and write an overview report. This overview report contains the original reports of the experts and that of the actors, as well as the comparison between the actors and that between the actors and the experts. The report will be send to the experts.
After studying this report the experts are invited to discuss, guided by the facilitator, the report with each other. Together the experts try to combine the different points of view and combine the different views on the phenomena expressed in the seven-layer model, clearly marking the contradictions and similarities between the models of the different groups. This is described in the report called ‘The report of comparison of the point of view of the experts and actors towards the issue of climate change’.
14.2 Step 3.2 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.4 of the problem-handling process: inform each group about the points of view of others
The facilitator invites each actor group separately for an explanation of the report ‘The report of comparison of point of view of the experts and actors towards the issue of climate change’ and explains this report. Then the actors are, guided by the facilitator, invited to reflect again their own points of view. This may result in some or no changes. Then each actor group is asked to select a representative of their group to represent them in the negotiation meetings.
14.3 Step 3.3 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.4 of the problem-handling process: make a power overview by the experts
Based on the original reports of the actors and their formulated points of view, the experts make a power map of the power of the different actors, including as far as this is possible, their hidden agendas. In a power game, it often happens, that the actors are not completely, or not at all, open in their point of view towards the issue. They have hidden goals and hidden agendas. It is up to the experts and facilitator to estimate, what is openly said, and what is hided.
Then the steering instruments of the problem owner are discussed. The steering instruments are instruments, that can be used to stimulate or prevent changes. The steering instruments of, for instance, a government can be incentives, like paying less tax or can be punishments, like paying fines or go to prison. At this moment in the problem-handling process the experts can see, whether their desired goals are still valued. Should the original goal still be the desired goal or should the original goal, be changed, now that there is a better view of the problem given? How can the desired goals be reached. If the desired goals cannot be reached, the experts should discuss whether the desired goals can be adapted.
14.4 Step 3.4 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.4 of the problem-handling process: the negotiations by the experts and the actors
The representatives of each actor group and the representative of the experts are invited by the facilitator to continue the problem-handling process and to start the negotiations. These sessions start with, again, explaining the points of view, now by each representative of a group to the other problem handlers.
The task of the facilitator is to get the points of view on the problem, the problem definition, nearer to each other. By doing this, all kinds of methods are used, like lecturing, discussing, explanation and by using, for instance, the Group Discussion Room (GDR) (DeTombe, 1995). Can the points of view grow nearer to each other? Then the desired goals are discussed. How much similarities and differences are there regarding the desired goals. Can these points of views come nearer to each other? Then the similarities and differences of the handling spaces are discussed. Can these points come nearer? After this the scenarios are discussed on similarities and differences. Then each participant of the problem-handling group is invited to explain their suggested interventions. This discussion is followed by discussing the steering instruments.
Then the negotiations can start. The idea is, that after some rounds of negotiations, the parties come to an agreement on certain kinds of interventions. This does not have to be based on a consensus. There are also other means to get groups to agree on some measurements. The actors which disagree with the interventions suggested by the majority, can get some incentives or punishments, which stimulate or force these actors to confirm to other points of view. This process of negotiation can take several months and may end in a impasse or in mutual accepted interventions. As in the other phases and steps, a report is made of this part of the problem-handling process by the facilitator.
15 Step 4 of the Compram methodology: anticipation on the political reactions by political experts and anticipation on societal reactions by ‘the people’
It is important before implementing the interventions to find out what the political reactions are of the rest of the world. Societal reactions are the reactions of the people and of, for instance, the media. The interventions will have effect on many people. Agreeing with a relatively small group of negotiators is different from getting an agreement of the rest of the world. Some interventions might not be excepted by some groups. These groups, for instance, not consulted action groups, can become very nasty, and can even prevent interventions to be performed. Therefore, before implementing the interventions, it is necessary to find out what the societal reactions are of the rest of the world. Thus, after the problem handlers agree to certain kinds of changes toward the issue, a team of political experts with expertise on micro, meso, and macro policy, will be invited to give an overview on the expected societal and political reactions. Political reactions are the reactions on other political levels or on other political areas than that of the problem owner. The political experts make a report in which they estimate the changes of obstruction and cooperation of the rest of the world to the interventions agreed upon in step 3. This report of the estimated societal reactions will be discussed by the representatives of the experts and actors, and some interventions might be adjusted due to this report.
Then the interventions will be announced in the relevant media and at the relevant organisations. This will provoke societal reactions of scientists, media and of other actor groups. The societal reactions will be evaluated. Then the representatives of the experts and actors will discuss the societal reactions. This might again lead to some adjustments.
At the end of this step the facilitator supported by communication experts, makes a report on societal reactions on the issue of climate change.
This report will be discussed in the problem handing team of step 3, the representatives of experts and actors together. Then based on the outcome of the discussion the interventions will be the confirmed or changed. Then interventions and measurements to be taken will be described, including a time scale of implementation and including the role of implementers and that of the controllers. As in the other phases and steps, a report is made of this part of the problem-handling process by the facilitator.
16 Step 5 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.5 of the problem-handling process: implementation of the interventions
In this step the suggested interventions are implemented by the implementation group. The implementation group consists of representatives of the expert group and the actors groups. The implementation will follow a time schedule indicating how and when the operationalized interventions are implemented. Sometimes it takes a long time to make people act on interventions they already agreed upon. For instance, the agreement of the Kyoto protocol is not yet, even after many years, ratified by some of the major players in the world (the USA and India). These implementation will be controlled and evaluated by the controlle group. These control processes must be open to the public, to the media and to international recognized control organizations.
17 Step 6 of the Compram methodology and phase 2.6 of the problem-handling process: evaluation of changes of the problem of climate change and evaluating the problem-handling process by the team of experts and actors
Directly after the steps 1 to 5 the facilitator will evaluate the problem-handling process in the way of a process of decision making. What went well, what went wrong in the problem-handling process and what was positive, what was negative. He/she reports this to the problem owner and this report will be used to improve the next problem-handling process on complex societal problems. Then will be evaluated, which actions are undertaken to implement the interventions, and what is the effect of the interventions on the desired goals.
After a few years the interventions will be evaluated by the facilitator together with her/his team of experts and actors. Are the interventions implemented? Are the desired goals reached? With regard to the climate issue, for instance: ‘Has every country ratified protocol discussed to made in Bali 2007?’
An outcome of the evaluation of the problem-handling process could be that interventions at the first level of handling space is not enough to reach the desired goals, and that, in order to really reach a more sustainable climate, interventions should be taken on the second level of the handling space. It could be that, for instance, an other view on economy, or welfare and happiness, could cause a mental shift, that makes it possible to get the necessary handling space for the interventions.
Mostly with these kind of complex societal problems, the problem changes after a few years. Also the states, people, knowledge of technology, power and emotions towards this issue is changed. Then it is time to consider, whether this line of intervention should be continued or should be changed. Is it necessary to start te problem-handling process again to redefine the issue of climate change?
This article is described how the Compram methodology can be applied to a complex societal problem. Here it was is argued, that climate change is a complex societal problem, which should be handled according to the Compram methodology. In this article the coherence and the necessary sequence of the phases in the problem-handling process and the steps in the Compram methodology are explained.
The Compram methodology is a way of thinking and a way of decision making. This intensive way of thinking leads to better and more sustainable interventions of the problem than the usual used political policy making. By following each phase of the problem-handling process and by performing each step of the Compram methodology carefully, one reaches more sustainable interventions on complex societal problems. The Compram methodology is created to prevent shallow solutions which can do more harm than good. Using the Compram way of handling helps to get more sustainable and more acceptable interventions.
Easy and fast solutions for these kind of complex societal problems are not possible. Often policy makers like to jump to conclusions, quickly find some interventions, and start implementing directly. Mostly these kind of problems are handled without taking all the phenomena into account. This way one does not see the whole problem and gets ‘solutions’ that only handle the effects of the problem and not the causes, or sometimes are even contra productive.
The Compram methodology is a framework methodology, which means, that all kinds of existing methods are included. In order to guide the process, the facilitator uses many existing tools and methods to create the knowledge on the issue. For the tools and methods the facilitator is not familiar with, other supporting facilitators can be invited.
The Compram methodology is based on interdisciplinary scientifically research. It advocates a multi disciplinary way of handling a complex societal problem. By carefully describing and reporting after each problem-handling phase and step, the whole process becomes transparent, which makes it easy to learn from and easy to see where improvements can be made. See for more information about the Compram methodology DeTombe, www.geocities.com/doriendetombe
Allen (1985) Woody Allen "The Purple Rose of Cairo" (movie) .
Winterlandschap met IJsvermaak
(Winterlandscape with ice fun) Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Oil on wood.
Technic Oil paint on panel,
Becker, Henk A. (1987 )The Lower Countries and a Higher Atlantic, in Herman G. Wind [ed.], Impact of Sea Level Rise on Society, Rotterdam, Balkema, p. 95-103
Becker, Henk A. (1995) Demographic Impact Assessment’, in Frank Vanclay and
Daniel A. Bronstein [eds],
Environmental and Social Impact
Becker, Henk A. (2003) Theory Formation and Application in Social Impact
Assessment’, in The International
Handbook of Social Impact Assessment, Conceptual and Methodological Advances,
(1992) Het broeikaseffect bestaat niet.
De mythe van de ondergang van het milieu.
Boere, G. (2007a) Russian-Dutch Cooperation on Nature Conservation 1991-2006. An overview of the history, activities programme and projects. Ministry of agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, The Netherlands.
Boere, G. (2007b) Russian-Dutch Cooperation on water management 1991-2006. Ministry of WaterAffairs.
Boere, G. & B. Fokkens (2007) 15 years of cooperation on environmental protection. 1991- 2006 exchanging experiences between Russia and the Netherlands. Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (V&W) Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) The Netherlands; Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Russian Federation The Hague: Opmeer bv.
Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction. A social
Critique of the Judgment of Taste.
Harvard University Press,
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Translated from:
Brundtland, G.H. (1988) Our Common Future: a Climate for Change. Proceedings of the world Conference on the Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security, 27-30 June (WMO.no. 710 1989).
Davos (2007) Second International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism in Davos, Switzerland (1-3 October 2007). The meeting is organized by UNWTO together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Swiss Government.
DeTombe, D.J. (1992) Chaos en epidemiologische scenarios: het aids scenario. Onzekerheden in de voorspelling van de Aids epidemie (Dutch) in Dijkum, van, C. & D. J. de Tombe (red.) (1992) Gamma Chaos. Onzekerheid en orde in de menswetenschappen. Bloemendaal: Aramith uitgevers, 173 pp. ISBN 90-68341057.
DeTombe, D.J. (1994) Defining complex interdisciplinary societal problems. A theoretical study for constructing a co-operative problem analyzing method: the method Compram. Amsterdam: Thesis publishers Amsterdam (thesis), 439 pp. ISBN 90 5170 302-3.
DeTombe, Dorien J. (1997) Using The Seven-Layer Model Of The Method Compram For Analyzing Complex Technical Policy Problems. Connecting Groupware Groupsystems V With The Conceptual Modeling Software Cope. European Journal of Operational Research, Bruges Belgium. http://infolab.kub.nl/eurogdss/97dorien.htm.
DeTombe, Dorien J. (1999) Facilitating complex technical policy problems.In Stuhler, E. & D.J. DeTombe (Eds.) Volume 5, Cognitive Psychological Issues and Environment Policy Application, Research on Cases and Theories. Munchen/Mering: Hampp Verlag, pp.119-127. ISBN 3-87988-355 -6; ISSN 0940-2829.
DeTombe, D.J. (2000a) “Anticipating and avoiding opposition in large technological projects”, International Journal of Technology Management 19(3/4/5): pp.301-312.
DeTombe, D.J. (2000b) “A new method for handling complex spatial problems”. In
A. Reggiani (ed.). Spatial Economic
Science: New Frontiers in Theory and Methodology.
DeTombe, Dorien J. (2001) Compram, a Method for Handling Complex Societal Problems, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 129-2, 16 March 2001.
DeTombe, Dorien (2003) Handling Complex Societal Problems. International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment. Conceptual and Methodological Advances H. Becker & F. Vanclay. Australia: Edward Elgar Publishers.
DeTombe, Dorien (2004) Causality in Complexity Proceedings of the RC33 Sixth International Conference on Social Science Methodology, cd, http://www.siswo.uva.nl/rc33/, Siswo: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe.
DeTombe, Dorien (2008) Towards sustainable development: a complex process International Journal on Environment and Sustainable Development.
Dyson, F (2007) Our Biotech Future. The New York review of books Volume 54, Number 12
Fourier, J. (1827). Mémoire Sur Les Températures Du Globe Terrestre Et Des Espaces Planétaires. Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences. Vol. 7. pp. 569–604
Fourier, J. (1827). Mémoire Sur Les Températures Du Globe Terrestre Et Des Espaces Planétaires. Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences. Vol. 7. pp. 569–604 Joseph Fourier.
Frijda, N.H. (1986) The emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Geurts, H. & R. van Dorland (Ed.) (2005) Klimaatverandering. Wat is er aan de hand met het weer in Nederland en België ISBN90 215 8082 9 Teleac: De Bilt, KNMI Utrecht. Kosmos.
Gore, A. (2006) An inconvenient Truth; The planetary emergency of Global warming and what we can do about it. video. Emmaus PA: Rodale cop.
Gore, A. (2007) An inconvenient Truth; video. Dir. David Guggenheim, Prod. Lawrence Bender, Music Michael Brook; Paramount Home Entertainment 2007 Climate Change; Greenhouse Effect.
Gökmen, Ali, Sinan Kayalıgil, Gerhard-W. Weber, İnci Gökmen, Mehmet Ecevit, Aşkın Sürmeli , Taylan Bali, Yıldız Ecevit, Haluk Gökmen, Dorien J. DeTombe (2004) Balaban Valley Project: Improving the Quality of Life in Rural Area in Turkey, In International Scientific Journal of Methods & Models of Complexity, ISJ M& MC, SISWO, Amsterdam. ISSN-0928-3137, http://www.fss.uu.nl/ms/cvd/isj.
Henderson-Sellers, A. & K. McGuffie (1987) A climate modelling primer. New York: Wiley.
Humphrey, J.P. (1948) Universele Verklaring van de Rechten van de Mens (Human rights-Geneva)agreement by Algemene vergadering van de Verenigde Naties (A/RES/217, 10 december 1948). Updated in 1998.
IPCC (2000) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Emissions Scenarios. Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC, Geneve.
IPCC (2007a) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of the Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY.
IPCC (2007b) Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of the Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY.
IPCC (2007c) Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of the Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY.
Knip, K. (2007) IPCC wil invloed van politici vermijden NRC 12-10-2007 (Dutch high quality daily news paper: IPCC want to avoid political influence) page 05.
Kyoto (1997a), Kyoto Contract, http://www.unfccc.org/resource/convkp.html.
Kyoto (1997b), Kyoto Protocol, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto-Protocol.
Kyoto (1997c), Kyoto Protocol, http://vitalgraphics.grida.no/kyoto.
Legget, J. (Ed.) (1990); Global warning; the Greenpeace report. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
Luttikhuis, P. (2007) Klimaatverandering als bedreiging voor vrede NRC 13-10-2007 (Dutch high quality daily news paper: climate change threat for peace) page 04.
Milieu en Natuur Planbureau (MNP) (2007a) Milieubalans 2007 (Dutch: Environment overview).Uitgever: Bilthoven RIVM ISBN 978 90 6960 177 9; ISSN 1383 4959 MNP publicatie nr. 500081004 www.mnp.nl
Milieu en Natuur Planbureau (MNP) (2007b) Nederland later. (Dutch: The Netherlands later) Uitgever: Bilthoven RIVM
Milieu en Natuur Planbureau (MNP) (2007c) Nederland en een duurzame wereld. (Dutch The Netherlands and a sustainable world) Uitgever: Bilthoven RIVM
Milieu- en Natuurcompendium (2007d) Sprekende feiten en cijfers over natuur en milieu Wageningen UR Centraal bureau voor statistiek (CBS) (Dutch: statistics on mature and environment). www.cbs.nl ISBN 978 90 357 1696 4
Newell, A. & H.A. Simon (1972) Human problem solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice- Hall.
New York Times (daily news paper) Global Warming New York:February 2, 2007
NRC (2007) Bali 2007. 21 December 2007 (UN Climate Summit). Rotterdam: Gert-Jan Oelderik
OECD (2006) ‘Final consensus report on Global Safety’ Report on the Workshop on Science and Technology for a Safer Society 20-Jul-2006
Otten, H. (2005) Klimaat in beweging (Dutch: Climate in change). Baarn: Tirion Natuur ISBN 90-5210-614-2
Pruyt, E. (2007)
Strategic Decision–Making And Dynamically
Complex Multi-Dimensional Issues. Thesis. Free University
Rijk, M. de (2007) Vrijwilligheid werkt niet bij klimaatdoelen NRC 10-01-2007 (Dutch high quality daily news paper: Agreements between government and business should be sanctioned) 01-10-2007, page 09.
Rio Declaration on Environment and Development ...(1992) The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro 1992, Reaffirming the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, adopted at Stockholm on 16 June 1972, and seeking to build upon it.
Rosenthal, U. (1984) Rampen, rellen, gijzelingen. Amsterdam: De Bataafsche Leeuw.
Rousseau, J.J. (1762) Emile ou de l'education.
RIVM (2004a) Kwaliteit en toekomst. Verkenning van duurzaamheid. Milieu-en Natuurplanbureau RIVM (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu). Rapport (Dutch report Quality and future) ISBN 90-12-10714-8 2e druk.
RIVM (2004b) Quality and the future. Sustainability outlook summary. Report Bilthoven: SDU uitgevers. ISBN 90-12-10714-8 2e druk.
Rosenthal, E. (2007) U.N. Report Describes Risks of Inaction on Climate Change. New York: New York Times (daily news paper). November 17, 2007 Elisabeth Rosenthal
Stuhler, E. & D.J. DeTombe (Eds.) (1999) Volume 5, Cognitive Psychological Issues and Environment Policy Application, Research on Cases and Theories. Munchen/Mering: Rainer Hampp Verlag ISBN 3-87988-355 -6; ISSN 0940-2829
Utsumi, T. (2003), Globally Collaborative Environmental Peace Gaming, Global Peace Through The Global University System. Tampere, Finland: University of Tampere Press.
http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/Global_University/Global University System/UNESCO_Chair_Book/Manuscripts/Part_IV_Global_Collaboration/Utsumi, Tak/GCEPG_D10_Web/GCEPG_D10.htm
Tyndall, J. ( 1861) John Tyndall.
Walker, J.C.G. (1991) Numerical Adventures with Geochemical Cycles. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 192 p.
Worsley, Thomas R., Kidder, David L. (1991) First-order coupling of paleogeography and CO2, with global surface temperature and its latitudinal contrast. Geology, Vol. 19, no. 12 p. 1161-1164
Interesting web pages:
The Compram methodology: http://www. geocities.com/doriendetombe
Climate change: www.mnp.nl www.wotnatuurenmilieu.wur.nl
An example of an existing world models (simulation models made with Stella software ©)
(Henderson-Sellers & McGuffie,1987; Worsley, Kidder, David,1991; Walker,1991).
Dorien J. DeTombe is the founding father of the field Methodology for Societal Complexity. She is an international recognized expert in the field of handling Complex Societal Problems and issues. She developed the methodology COMPRAM (Complex Problem hAndling Methodology), a multi disciplined methodology for political decision making. Dorien J. DeTombe studied social science and computer science. She received her doctorate in the field of methodology for Complex Societal Problems. She published many articles and books on the subject of Methodology of Complex Societal Problems. Contact: Dr Dorien DeTombe (MSc. Ph.D.) Chair International Society on Methodology for Societal Complexity, P.O. Box. 3286, 1001 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe Tel: +31 20 6927526 Email: deTombe@nosmo.nl http://www.geocities.com/doriendetombe
 The Compram methodology is advised by the OECD (July 2006) to handle complex societal issues. The ‘Final consensus report’ is published in the
Report on the Workshop on Science and Technology for a Safer Society 20-Jul-2006 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/29/2/37163745.pdf.
by the United Nations (
 “On Feb. 2, 2007, the United Nations scientific panel studying climate change (IPCC) declared that the evidence of a warming trend is "unequivocal,” and that human activity (antropogenic) has "very likely" been the driving force in that change over the last 50 years. The last report by the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in 2001, had found that humanity had "likely" played a role.” New York Times February 2, 2007.
 The theory of societal complexity and the Compram methodology is developed by DeTombe (1994, 2001, 2003). The Compram methodology is a methodology to analyze, structure, guide and evaluate complex societal problems based on the theory of societal complexity.
 In this discussion we do not make a distinction between party, actor, stakeholder, interest group, or organized group. In this article all these concepts refer to groups who have a certain, positive or negative, interest in the issue discussed.
 See for more info on awareness webpage (DeTombe):
 See highly qualified daily new papers during the years 2000-2007: in Europe the Frankfurter Algemeine in Germany, the NRC in The Netherlands, Le Monde in France; in North America the New York Times in the USA.
 See for more info on mental idea DeTombe webpage:
 The mean temperature on the earth has varied in the last 500 million years between a mean of 12 degrees Celsius in the Ordovician and 12 degrees Celsius in the Silurian period. Now-a-days the mean temperature of the earth is 15 degrees Celsius (Otten, 2005).
 This cold period is pictured in the many ice and skating paintings of the ´Golden Age´ in The Netherlands. See for instance, the work of Avercamp (Avercamp, 1630-1634, 1608; Groot, 2005).
 Since the beginning of last century, the world temperature has risen an average of 0,74 degrees Celsius. In The Netherlands the temperature increased 1.6 degrees Celsius in this period (Milieu en Natuur Planbureau, 2007a, p. 52). The climate panel (IPCC, 2000) predicted that the global climate is likely to rise between 3.5 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit when the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere reaches twice the level of 1750. However, one should realize that the temperatures are only measured from 1876 on. Compared to the existence of the earth of 4.5 billiard years this period is very short.
 However, also for these phenomena counts, that the registration of the weather are very recent.
 Flood (Watersnoodramp) in The Netherlands in 1953.
Yellow is beach and dunes. Purple is below sea
level. Dark blue is between 0-
 National Aeronautics and Space Administration
 The amount of deserts is increasing, while the amount of cultural land is decreasing. So less rice, grain and corn can be harvested for human and animal consumption. Also the amount of swamps seem to be increasing causing more malaria.
 The legitimate problem owner is the person or the institute that has the authority to handle the problem. This means that the problem owner can start the problem-handling process and that there is a reasonable chance that the other participants, experts and actors, are prepared to cooperate in this process. When acceptable interventions are found, later on in the problem-handling process, there is a reasonable chance that these interventions will be implemented.
 There are limits to the knowledge about a complex problem due to lack of time, money, and the state of the art of the knowledge on the issue. A limitation on knowledge is called a white spot. A white spot means that one knows that one should know more about these phenomena, however the knowledge on this item is not available and time or possibilities are missing.
An other limitation on knowledge is called a blind spot. Blind spots are knowledge issues that everyone oversees, and just does not realize that this is missed. However if realized, the knowledge about the issue would be available. To avoid blind spots a outsider, like a general expert, is several times invited, to the problem-handling process to discuss the models with the participants and to ask all kinds questions on the relation between the phenomena and on the involved phenomena. This general expert gets the role of the devils advocate. This is also done to avoid group think (DeTombe, 1994).
 By inviting actors directly into the problem-handling process, the chances are there that the most powerful actors formulate the definition of the problem toward their own definition of the problem and their own goals. Therefore, the Compram methodology starts with ‘neutral’ experts, instead of with actors. The experts are neutral towards the definition and the goal of the problem-handling process.
 The Compram methodology neutralizes, where needed, the personal or domain dominance of a person in the problem-handling team, for instance, by giving the team members the opportunity to brainstorm anonymously for instance in the Group Decision Room (GDR) (DeTombe, 1997) .
 For more information about complex societal problems and the Compram methodology see: http://www. geocities.com/doriendetombe.
 ‘Milieu en Natuur Planbureau’ means ‘Planning Agency for Environment and Nature’.
 The dark blue inner circle represents the whole problem. The different pie pieces symbolises the views of people of different discipline on the problem.
 A support group is a group of people within the same discipline, who helps to formulate the questions and answers (DeTombe, 1994, chapter 8).
 Verbalism is using words without knowing what they mean.
 It is impossible to get a complete overview of the problem (DeTombe, 1992).
 The difference between the conceptual model, in which the cause-effect relations of the phenomena are indicated, and the empirical model is that in the conceptual model only an estimation of the content of the variables is indicated, while in the empirical model the conceptual model is filled with real life data.
 In some issues, like here the climate issue, the goal could be to mitigate some phenomena for instance the biogas emission. Sometimes the goal is vague, such as increasing the level of living, or the benefit of mankind. These kind of goals should be carefully defined first in order to understand what is meant with it.
 The desired situation can, for instance, be the reorganization of an institute or diminishing the discharge of chemical plants.
 We do not use the term ‘problem space’ to avoid the idea that the goal, the operations and the intermittent steps are already known and that the solution of the problem can be found within the problem space. It is possible, however, that the desired situation is not clear, or the goals are in conflict with each other, or that the kind of operations and tools are not clear. This is the reason we avoid the term problem space.
See for instance the situation in
 'Unfreezing' means inviting people to include, as a thought experiment, a higher level of handling space. This can be done in order to stimulate people to think about quite new situations; to realize that the present situation is also constructed by people, and as a consequence, is not rigidly determined. The expectation is that people will come up with quite new, and creative ideas for changing the problem.
 Time is an important constraint in urgent problems, like for instance, with riots and disasters (Rosenthal, 1984).
 The Group Discussion Room is a computer room in which a group of persons can anonymously discuss, vote, use of multiple criteria analysis and evaluate. The software used is group decision software such as Groupware©.