climate change needs operations research

“To understand climate change in all its full complexity, you need to think about it at the level of a complex system. Who would have thought that energy policy would have implications for nutritional status in Mexico. But it did. Because as we shifted to corn-based ethanol, corn prices rose, and that had implications for the availability of food for people who were nutritionally insecure in Mexico. Without thinking about the system at that complex a level, it’s impossible to understand it fully or to get the best solutions” –Howard Frumkin

This is a great sales pitch for operations research, but too bad operations research isn’t mentioned by name.

This is from a five minute podcast with Howard Frumkin, director of the National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta, who wrote “Climate Change and the Health of the Public” (with Anthony J. McMichael and Jeremy J. Hess) in the November 2008 volume of American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The full list of podcasts can be found here.

Operations research is needed for solving a spectrum of environmental problems. Check out GreenOR, a blog by Ian Frommer, for more.

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