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Analysis of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned
National Assessment of Climate Change Impacts (NACCI)
NACCI was undertaken in response to the Global Change Research Act (1990) to evaluate the impacts of climate change on the United States (NAST 2001).
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA)
Primary objectives were to evaluate and synthesize knowledge and indicators of climate variability, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation in the region; to assess possible impacts of future changes in climate and radiation; and to provide reliable information to both governments and peoples of the region to support policy-making processes (ACIA 2004).
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)
MA was designed to answer questions fundamental to various UN conventions dealing with natural resource issues, in particular the consequences of diverse environmental changes on the functioning of ecosystems, including their continuing capacity to deliver services essential to human well-being (MA 2005a,b).
German Enquete Kommission on “Preventive Measures to Protect the Earth’s Atmosphere”
The Enquete Kommission brings scientists and policy makers together to assess, in this case, the importance and consequences of stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change for Germany among other dimensions of global environmental change (Enquete Kommission 1988, 1991).
Synthesis and Assessment Products by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP)
The 21 assessment products are designed to address the mandate of the Global Change Research Act by considering science and policy issues spanning the range of topics addressed by the CCSP. The first product, on temperature trends in the lower atmosphere, was released in April 2006 (CCSP 2006).
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENTS
Certain strengths and weaknesses, common to several assessments analyzed by the committee, illuminate critical features of effective assessments. For example, a well-defined mandate and consistent support from the requesters of the assessment contributed importantly to the effectiveness of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) and the stratospheric ozone assessments, while the process outcome of the Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA) was impaired by lack of a clear mandate from the target audience. Several assessments benefited significantly from well-articulated, multifaceted, and extensive communication strategies. The ozone assessments were especially effective in providing relevant information for decision-making processes,