both types of trust may be required, but how each is earned might require different design choices and trade-offs between the two.

Third, the term salience combines several characteristics that are all associated with effective communication with the intended audience (Ravetz 1971; Clark and Majone 1985; Social Learning Group 2001a). Most important, it includes the need for an assessment to be simultaneously relevant and widely recognized in order to capture users’ attention and, therefore, communicating in terms that they recognize as relevant to their concerns. Depending on the particular assessment and context, it may also include communicating through the right media, expressing results at a technical level, using terms and concepts that are matched to the audience, and taking regard of specific decision responsibilities and deadlines.

Other Key Terms

Stakeholders. The committee considers all “interested and affected parties” as stakeholders in the assessment process. This includes people whose material interests may be affected and also those who have an interest as citizens even if they do not stand to be materially affected. A distinction is made in this report between these and a specific stakeholder—the authorizing body of the assessment—that provides the assessment with its mandate and typically also with its funding. Most often, the authorizing body (i.e., those requesting an assessment) is part of a government or, in the case of the IPCC, of multiple governments. This distinction is made for the purpose of several discussions in this report, due to the fact that different processes may be required to structure the participation of the authorizing body and of all other stakeholders.

Target audience. This refers to the potential users of assessments. Often, the primary target audience consists of decision makers in the federal government who are responsible for the decisions that the assessment is intended to inform. In addition, the target audience may also include state and municipal governments, private-sector users, the public, or intermediaries, who function as science translators to decision makers (e.g., congressional staff, business associations, environmental organizations).

Framing. Framing refers to the process of defining the mandate of the assessment and the specific questions it is charged to address. In the framing process, the types of decision the assessment is intended to inform are identified together with the approach.


The requested analysis of past global change assessments involved a three-pronged approach: building on existing scholarly work, drawing from

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