Summary report

This thesis describes and analyzes in situ how a big company deals with the scientific knowledge on the impacts of climate change. It is the outcome of a joint-project between the CEARC (laboratory of the University Paris Saclay), I4CE (the Institute for Climate Economics), ADEME (the French environment and energy agency) and SNCF, France’s national state-owned railway company.

It intends to improve our understanding of how large organizations adapt to multifaceted changes and address wicked environmental problems.

Based on an inductive inquiry, the research describes how adaptation happens for now at SNCF, mostly on a reactive and incremental mode, first at the corporate level then in one specific region (Occitanie).

Dépoues, V. (2017). Organisational uptake of scientific information about climate change by infrastructure managers: the case of adaptation of the French railway company. Climatic Change, 143(3-4), 473-486.

Dépoues, V., Vanderlinden, J.-P., & Venturini, T. (2017). Entre dire et faire : discours scientifique sur le changement climatique et adaptation du système ferroviaire français. Article académique soumis à la revue Vertigo (révision en cours). 

In a second step, it explores possible consequences of the most disruptive changes announced by science and how various actors consider more transformative adaptations of their world-views and practices. The device set up showed that increases in climate variability and evolutions of extreme events might actually question current policies and strategical choices. Beyond technical stakes, adaptation raises important governance challenges. Different sub-entities of SNCF but also local authorities, traffic authorities or other mobility providers can make contrasted adaptation choices.

Dépoues, V., Vanderlinden, J. P., Venturini, T., & Jézéquel, A. (déposé, 2018). An experimental workshop to question the implications of an increase in extreme weather events frequency on the organization of French railways system.

Following these observations, this research identifies salient research questions to improve adaptation decisions. It defends that, along with other heuristics, economics have a major role to play to unfold critical consequences of climate change, explore adaptation options and display controversies regarding long-term adaptation.

Detailed summary

Full Manuscript 

Partners

About the project

Ademe ; SNCF ; CEARC ; I4CE

Project started in Octobre 2015 and completed in February 2019.

Members of the defense Committee: Anders Blok (Sociologisk Institut, University of Copenhagen), Arnaud Diemer (CERDI, University of Clermont-Auvergne), Angel Aparicio (Madrid Polytechnic University), Franck Lecocq (CIRED), Aude Bodiguel (ADEME) and Benoît Leguet (I4CE).

Deliverables 

Academic articles

  • Dépoues, V. (2017). Organisational uptake of scientific information about climate change by infrastructure managers: the case of adaptation of the French railway company. Climatic Change, 143(3-4), 473-486. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01865209
  • Dépoues, V., Vanderlinden, J.-P., & Venturini, T. (2017). Entre dire et faire : discours scientifique sur le changement climatique et adaptation du système ferroviaire français. Article académique soumis à la revue Vertigo (révision en cours). https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01826546
  • Dépoues, V., Vanderlinden, J. P., Venturini, T., & Jézéquel, A. (déposé, 2018). An experimental workshop to question the implications of an increase in extreme weather events frequency on the organization of French railways system. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01835393
  • Dépoues, V. (2018). Ce que peut nous apprendre le cas de la gestion de la végétation Sur l’adaptation au changement climatique pour SNCF. Document de réflexion (à paraître dans la Revue Générale des Chemins de fer (fév. 2019)). https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01865207
  • Dépoues, V. (2017). Compte rendu de lecture : Richard, E. (2016). “L’adaptation aux changements climatiques. Les réponses de l’action publique territoriale” Repères–Events & books Ouvrages en débat. Natures Sciences Sociétés, 25(1), 80-99. https://www.nss-journal.org/articles/nss/pdf/2017/01/nss170015.pdf

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