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OCR for page 51
Review of the Narsto Draft Report: Narsto Assessment of the Atmospheric Science on Particulate Matter 5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE NARSTO ASSESSMENTS NARSTO indicates in the draft assessment that it intends to repeat the assessment process at regular intervals, with a second assessment on PM to be conducted in 2007–2008. The committee recommends that NARSTO, in preparing for and conducting these future assessments, focus on enhancing its interaction with the policy community to make it possible for NARSTO to inform policy decisions better. In addition, NARSTO should strive to better place atmospheric-science information in the context of effects, including those on health, ecosystems, and global climate, as well as economics and other social sciences. With stronger links to those communities, NARSTO could be much more effective in communicating its science to researchers in the related fields and in identifying high-impact research directions for atmospheric science. As discussed previously in this review, the committee finds that the current draft of the PM assessment falls short in the process and methods used to elicit information needs from decision-makers and in communicating the policy implications of the science to them. The committee strongly recommends that social scientists with expertise in elicitation of information be engaged in developing policy guidance for future assessments. Future NARSTO efforts to elicit decision-maker needs and concerns must be designed to use valid techniques to obtain representative and unbiased samples. Furthermore, to meet its goals of aiding air-quality policy and management decision-making (see Box 1–1 in the present report), NARSTO needs to refine how it attempts to communicate scientific information to policy-makers, particularly by drawing bolder and less ambiguous policy implications. Of greatest importance is more explicitly identifying air-quality management activities that will most likely lead to the desired outcome; tradeoffs, nonlinearities, and synergies associated with those activities; and alternative options. Those are components of the committee’s suggested framework for informing airborne-PM management (see Figure 2–1 of the present report) that are not adequately addressed in the current draft assessment. Providing less ambiguous recommendations for policy-makers will probably require broader participation in the assessment activities from the full range of PM scientists, including those who study human health, management strategies and their economic effects, and control technology.
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Review of the Narsto Draft Report: Narsto Assessment of the Atmospheric Science on Particulate Matter The committee recognizes that NARSTO’s expertise lies in atmospheric science and that NARSTO has therefore limited its current assessment activities largely to summarizing the state of atmospheric science. At the same time, the committee notes that objectives 5 and 6 of NARSTO’s charge for this assessment (see Box 1–1 of the present report) indicate that NARSTO clearly sees the importance of informing and coordinating the research of the atmospheric-science community with that in related fields. Indeed, objective 6 includes a goal to deliver atmospheric-science research products in a way that is useful to the other communities. The committee finds that it is impossible for NARSTO to meet those objectives without enhanced interaction between the atmospheric-science community and related disciplines, such as human health, ecosystem and climate sciences, and economics and other social sciences. If those links are not addressed better, the value of future assessment chapters devoted to related fields will be limited, as is the case for the chapter on health effects in the draft assessment. Without such strengthened cross-disciplinary links, NARSTO runs the risk of reducing the relevance of its science assessments to the larger air-quality management activity. The committee recommends that, in preparation for future assessments, NARSTO augment its activities to encompass a broader array of researchers in issues pertaining to air quality, such as human health, ecosystems, and economics and other social sciences. NARSTO should establish or increase the prominence of leadership positions in its organization to foster interactions with the other communities. Such activities as standing committees; workshops; agency, industry, and symposium briefings; and similar endeavors should be pursued to engage the other communities more fully, rather than simply consulting a few researchers from each field in preparing the next assessment.
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