Building a Sustained Mechanism for Participation and Communication in Scientific Assessments: Examples from the Third National Climate Assessment (Invited Presentation)

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 11:45 AM
121BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Emily Therese Cloyd, US Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC; and G. C. Lough

The National Climate Assessment's ability to provide information relevant to decision making relies, in part, on building a strong stakeholder engagement process and on creating products that are able to communicate to a variety of audiences. In developing the Third National Climate Assessment, the US Global Change Research Program sought to establish an inclusive, broad-based, and sustained process with ample opportunities for stakeholder engagement. An important element of this process was development of a dialogue between scientific experts and decision makers about the climate-related issues, impacts, and potential response actions that are most important in a particular region or sector. It invited participation from and considered methods for communicating with a variety of stakeholders throughout the assessment process. Specific methods for gathering inputs and developing dialogue included workshops, public comment opportunities, town hall meetings, presentations, requests for information, submitted documents, and open meetings. An important mechanism for continuing engagement and ultimately broad distribution of the assessment was the development of a network of organizations within and outside of the federal government, which self-organized around topics of interest to extend the NCA to a wider range of user groups. Ultimately, the stakeholder engagement and communication practices sought to promote transparency in the assessment process, build capacity within stakeholder communities to use climate change information in their decision making processes, and contribute to assessments being perceived as credible, salient, and legitimate by both the scientific and decision maker communities.