be designed that addresses criticisms regarding government reviews that attempt to alter the report’s scientific conclusions inappropriately. This can be addressed by providing clear and transparent guidelines giving experts the ultimate editorial authority over the scientific conclusions in response to government reviews and comments. In addition, neutral review editors from a broad range of disciplines could function as referees to ensure that comments are responded to appropriately and that well-defined guidelines are followed to avoid the perception of government reviews altering scientific conclusions.
Recommendation: An assessment review process should enhance salience and legitimacy in addition to credibility, by engaging interested and affected parties in the review process in addition to the expert community. The design of the review process should be adapted depending on whether it is a process, impact, or response assessment. The use of a well-balanced panel of review editors from a broad range of backgrounds should be considered to ensure that the review comments are responded to appropriately. In addition, a transparent mechanism for a legitimate and credible government review needs to be designed.
Decision-support tools include a wide range of tools and models that link analyses, environmental and social data, and information about decisions and outcomes. They help decision makers understand the sensitivity of relevant systems, assess vulnerability, identify management alternatives, characterize uncertainties, and plan for implementation (Chen et al. 2004; Pyke and Pulwarty 2006). For example, regional tools were developed during the development of the NACCI that allow web-based access to assessment data to assist in making agricultural crop decisions. In its strategic plan (CCSP 2003), the CCSP identified the need for increased efforts to develop decision-support applications, a new emphasis that was lauded in the NRC review of the plan (NRC 2004).
Adaptation to global change in general, and climate change in particular, requires that the institutional context of decisions be recognized in the development of decision-support tools as well as adaptation and mitigation activities. Assessments should be designed to be policy relevant but not policy prescriptive. For example, a response assessment may provide policy options and analysis describing possible policy outcomes but it should not prescribe which response to choose. There are many ways to ensure that decision-support efforts are properly focused and effective, but it will not be possible to support every type of decision at every scale. When selecting specific case studies to be nested within the broader assessment activity,