Environmental Protection and MIT News report on a paper by Mort Webster from MIT in the most recent issue of Decision Analysis that applies decision analysis tools to climate change policies. Policy changes are typically sequential, path-dependent, and slow to change. EP online reports that
Applying decision analysis in the context of idealized government decision makers over a century raises the question of how to deal with the fact that political systems tend to exhibit “path dependency,” a force that makes large policy shifts difficult and rare, and limits most decisions to small incremental changes.
In his paper, [Webster] argues that consideration of path dependence in the context of climate policy justifies greater near-term emissions reductions in what amounts to a hedging strategy.