Science-policy Challenges in Climate Assements

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 2:00 PM
121BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Hilda Joan Blanco, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Climate change is a global, pervasive problem requiring global changes in all sectors in society. Climate assessments are exemplars of how science can contribute to momentous policy decisions in the face of uncertainty, of navigating the science-policy interface. They assess the knowledge available that characterize the problem and the policy solutions through the use of research synthesis, scenarios, modeling. Such assessments face major challenges, e.g., bridging the disciplinarity of the sciences, achieving collaboration between scientists and practice-oriented professions, and lack of research on implementing a broad range of policy and planning responses.

This paper will focus on how global assessments (IPCC) and the US national assessments have addressed these challenges and the implications for organizing effective science-policy interactions. It highlights two aspects of the interface: the imbalance between science and policy in the assessments, as well as among the policy fields; and secondly, the paucity of evidence on results of implementing a broad range of policy and planning responses. This latter is likely to affect long-range pervasive social action required for an adequate societal response to climate change. In particular, it examines the framing of climate change in terms of risk management, and the consequences generated by the imposition of a framework that requires more precision than many policy fields can provide.