ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ASSESSMENTS LESSONS LEARNED

Committee on Analysis of Global Change Assessments

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ASSESSMENTS LESSONS LEARNED Committee on Analysis of Global Change Assessments Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. NASW-01008 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10485-2 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10485-8 Additional copies of this report are available from: The National Academies Press 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 (800) 624-6242 (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu. Cover: Design by Michele de la Menardiere, the National Academies Press. NASA MODIS image of fires over Florida and Georgia in May, 2007. Image source: NASA Earth Observatory (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov) Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned COMMITTEE ON ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ASSESSMENTS GUY P. BRASSEUR (Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado KATHARINE L. JACOBS (Vice-chair), Arizona Water Institute, Tucson ERIC J. BARRON, The University of Texas, Austin RICHARD BENEDICK, Joint Global Change Research Institute, College Park, Maryland WILLIAM L. CHAMEIDES, Environmental Defense, New York, New York THOMAS DIETZ, Michigan State University, East Lansing PATRICIA ROMERO LANKAO, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado MACK MCFARLAND, DuPont Fluoroproducts, Wilmington, Delaware HAROLD A. MOONEY, Stanford University, California RAVI V. NATHAN, ACE USA Global Weather, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania EDWARD A. PARSON, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor RICHARD RICHELS, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Washington, D.C. BASC Liaison ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor NRC Staff CLAUDIA MENGELT, Study Director AMANDA STAUDT, Senior Program Officer ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Research Associate RACHAEL SHIFLETT, Senior Program Assistant

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE F. SHERWOOD ROWLAND (Chair), University of California, Irvine M. JOAN ALEXANDER, NorthWest Research Associates/CORA, Boulder, Colorado MICHAEL L. BENDER, Princeton University, New Jersey ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor CAROL ANNE CLAYSON, Florida State University, Tallahassee WALTER F. DABBERDT, Vaisala Inc., Boulder, Colorado KERRY A. EMANUEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge DENNIS L. HARTMANN, University of Washington, Seattle PETER R. LEAVITT, Weather Information Inc., Newton, Massachusetts VERNON R. MORRIS, Howard University, Washington, D.C. THOMAS H. VONDER HAAR, Colorado State University/CIRA, Fort Collins Ex Officio Members ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University of Maryland, College Park NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director AMANDA STAUDT, Senior Program Officer CURTIS MARSHALL, Program Officer IAN KRAUCUNAS, Program Officer CLAUDIA MENGELT, Program Officer LEAH PROBST, Research Associate ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Research Associate ROB GREENWAY, Senior Program Assistant RACHAEL SHIFLETT, Senior Program Assistant KATIE WELLER, Senior Program Assistant DIANE GUSTAFSON, Administrative Coordinator SHUBHA BANSKOTA, Financial Associate

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned Preface Communication between scientists and decision makers has always been a challenge. The two communities use different languages and have different needs. Before scientists can convey their information, which usually appears in the peer-reviewed literature, to decision makers, it needs to be synthesized and integrated so that relevant facts can be communicated in a useful form. Assessments are evaluation and consensus building processes for establishing an integrated view of recent scientific break-throughs and providing policy-relevant information to decision makers. For assessments to be effective and credible, the process has to be open and must provide accurate, useful, and scientifically tested information. During the last four decades, many assessments have been produced to address important questions related to environmental issues such as ozone depletion, climate change, and the loss of biodiversity. Many of these assessments have been conducted at the international level and have provided the scientific basis for the elaboration of international agreements such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992), and the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1997). They gave scientists the opportunity to develop networks of expertise and to provide the latest information to policy makers in many countries. Assessments have become a common activity, but their success depends on a number of conditions. This report analyzes conditions that contribute to successful assessments.

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned In the United States, the first national assessment focused specifically on climate change was conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and completed in October 2000. A second round of assessment was initiated in 2002 by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). Recently, the research community and the CCSP leadership agreed that it would be valuable to evaluate the assessment process itself to learn from various past efforts in conducting assessments with the goal of guiding future assessment activities. Therefore, in the spring of 2004 the CCSP asked the National Academies to look at lessons learned from past global change assessments (see Appendix A for the Statement of Task). In response, an ad hoc committee of 12 members was formed (see Appendix E for the committee’s composition and biographies). The committee was charged with undertaking a comparative analysis of past global change assessments with goals similar to the CCSP to identify strengths and weaknesses in the process. Based on that analysis, the committee was asked to provide CCSP with advice on its approach to future assessment activities. The committee held five meetings to gather information and deliberate on its findings and recommendations. During the first meeting, the committee met with CCSP representatives to discuss the committee’s charge and with scholars to learn from past evaluations of global change assessments. At its second meeting, additional scholars were consulted for their analysis of assessment processes. In addition, renowned leaders of assessment processes were invited to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the processes in which they were involved. Stakeholders from the private sector and from regional to federal government were invited to the third and fourth meetings to discuss design issues that could foster effective engagement of user communities and ensure that assessments meet the needs of the target audience. As an example of an international approach, the committee heard from German scientists about their global change assessment processes during its fourth meeting. The final meeting was reserved for closed committee deliberation and report development. I would like to thank all of the individuals who shared their knowledge and experience with members of our committee and assisted us in gathering the information needed to formulate sound recommendations. The committee is to be complemented for its diligence and commitment to this study. I thank, in particular, the vice-chair Katharine L. Jacobs, who assisted me in organizing the work of the committee and in chairing some of the sessions. It is also a pleasure to recognize the outstanding work of the study director, Dr. Claudia Mengelt, who did a superb job in the conduct of the present study and was assisted very effectively by senior program assistant Rachael Shiflett at the National Research Council.

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned The committee hopes that this report will be useful to the CCSP in identifying lessons learned from past assessments and in providing advice to guide future global change assessment activities in the United States. Guy P. Brasseur Chair

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Patricia Anderson, University of Alaska, Fairbanks Scott Barrett, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C. Ann Bostrom, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta William C. Clark, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Brian Flannery, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Clinton, New Jersey Gerald Galloway, University of Maryland, College Park Henry Jacoby, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts Jennifer Logan, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Michael C. MacCracken, Climate Institute, Washington, D.C. M. Granger Morgan, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Roger Pulwarty, NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, Boulder, Colorado

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Thomas Graedel, Yale University, and Debra Knopman, The RAND Corporation; appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. The committee would also like to thank the many individuals who contributed during the committee’s information gathering phase especially: Stephen O. Anderson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Dan Basketfield, Senior Water Resources Engineer, Seattle Public Utilities; Tom Buschatzke, Water Advisor, City of Phoenix; William Clark, Harvard University; Robert Corell, National Science Foundation, retired; William Fang, Edison Electric Institute; John H. Gibbons, Resource Strategies; Hartmut Grassl, University of Hamburg, Germany; Bryan Hannegan, formerly Council on Environmental Quality; Tony Janetos, Joint Global Change Research Institute; Jim Jensen, National Academies; James Mahoney, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, retired; Susi Moser, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Walt Reid, Packard Foundation; Sam Sadler, Oregon Department of Energy; John Schellnhuber, Potsdam Institute für Klima, Germany; Peter Schultz, Climate Change Science Program; Truman Semans, Pew Center; Margaret Spring, U.S. Senate staff; Stacy VanDeveer, University of New Hampshire; Bob Watson, World Bank; and Thomas Wilbanks, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned Contents     SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   13      History of Climate Change Assessments and Policy in the United States,   15      Definitions of Key Terms,   22      Study Approach and Report Road Map,   25 2   DIVERSITY OF ASSESSMENTS AND THEIR POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTIONS   27      Potential Contributions of Assessments to Decision Making,   27      Scientific and Policy Contexts for Assessments,   29      Four Types of Assessments and Consequences for Design Choices,   31 3   MAJOR CHALLENGES TO ACHIEVING AN EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT PROCESS   39      Framing a Credible and Legitimate Process,   39      Science-Policy Interface: Balancing Credibility with Salience,   47      Engaging Stakeholders,   48      Connecting Science with Decision Making,   51      Review Process,   52      Consensus Building,   53      Characterizing Uncertainty,   54

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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned      A Strategic Communication Plan,   57      Summary of Guidance from the Literature,   60 4   CASE STUDIES OF GLOBAL CHANGE ASSESSMENTS   63      Stratospheric Ozone Assessments,   65      Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,   71      Global Biodiversity Assessment,   77      National Assessment of Climate Change Impacts,   79      Arctic Climate Impact Assessment,   83      Millennium Ecosystem Assessment,   86      The German Enquete Kommission,   90      Synthesis and Assessment Products of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program,   93 5   ADVICE FOR EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENTS   99      Framing the Assessment,   100      Adequate Funding,   105      Assessment Benefits, Opportunity Costs, and Efficiency Considerations,   106      Timing and Frequency,   111      Identifying, Engaging, and Responding to Stakeholders,   112      Leadership and Organizational Structure,   122      Integrated Assessments,   123      Treatment of Uncertainty,   126      A Credible and Independent Review Process,   127      Developing Decision-Support Applications,   128      Employing a Nested Matrix Approach,   129     REFERENCES   131     APPENDIXES          A  Statement of Task   143      B  U.S. Global Change Research Act of 1990   145      C  Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Products   159      D  Climate Change Science Program Guidelines for Producing Its Synthesis and Assessment Products   163      E  Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff   173      F  Acronyms   181