TABLE 4.1 Tools Commonly Used to Aid Effective Decisions and Actions Related to Climate Change


Main Uses in Decision Making

Basic toolbox

Graphs, maps, spreadsheets, images, GIS—used in local analysis of climate change and to communicate trends, patterns, impacts and alternatives

Earth systems models (e.g., general circulation models, carbon cycle models, climate forecast models)

Predict climate (e.g., seasonal forecasts, past climate) Estimate how emissions (and alternative emission paths) will affect global and regional climate

Understand how changes in climate or other factors (e.g., land use) might affect global carbon and biogeochemical cycles

Explore and communicate key uncertainties

Assess the global climate implications of some geoengineering options

Impact models (e.g., ecosystem models, crop models, water resource models, disease models, coastal models)

Analyze the impacts of changes in climate on the environment and human activity

Explore the interactions of climate with other changes (e.g., in water demand, land use, agricultural technology, vulnerability) to understand range of impacts

Examine the potential for adaptation to reduce impacts

Economic models (e.g., cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis, individual choice modeling/agent-based models, input-output models)

Estimate and analyze the costs and benefits of various policies and assumptions to limit emissions, develop cost-effective energy policies

Understand the results of individual economic decisions about use of energy, land, and other resources

Some decision tools are also highly technical, which requires training and also stakeholder engagement in the development of the tools to ensure the output is useful for decision makers. For example, the International Research Institute (IRI) runs training programs and online tutorials for users to understand climate forecast maps. A number of private sector companies and consultancies offer workshops in how to calculate GHG emissions or involve stakeholders in decisions.

Not only do decision makers have difficulty in interpreting and applying climate prediction in practice, there is often a mismatch between needs of decision makers at

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