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Item #d95nov14

"The Social Construction of Acid Rain: Some Implications for Science/Policy Assessment," C. Herrick, D. Jamieson (Dept. Philosophy, Univ. Colorado, Boulder CO 80309), Global Environ. Change, 5(2), 105-112, May 1995.

Examines the U.S. National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP), for which the lead author managed the final integrated assessment of 1990, to see what that experience can teach about global change research initiatives. American policy analysts often invoke NAPAP as a textbook example of how not to do policy relevant research, but the wrong conclusions are being drawn. Science/policy assessment should more realistically be viewed in a much more political light, in which science plays a crucial role, but cannot give unbiased "answers" to policy questions. Regarding global environmental change, much greater attention should be paid to communication and community building. There must be widespread agreement on what questions are being asked, why they are important, what counts as answers to them, and what the social uses of these answers might be.

Item #d95nov15

"Integrating Knowledges for Climate Change—Pyramids, Nets and Uncertainties," S. Shackley (Ctr. Study Environ. Change, Lancaster Univ., Lancaster LA1 4YN, UK), B. Wynn, ibid., 113-126.

To contribute to better defined, more discriminating and robust uses of the natural and social sciences, this paper analyzes two dominant ways of conceptualizing the climate change research agenda: the "knowledge pyramid" and the "knowledge net." Using the "certainty trough" from social science and crop models, explores the sometimes terse relationship between climate modelers and climate impact researchers. Discusses pressures to develop a more holistic analysis, but argues that much integrated assessment modeling still exhibits an implicit and acultural reductionism, and frequently misconstrues the character and significance of uncertainty as well as the role of analytical knowledge in policy making.

Item #d95nov16

"Avoiding 'Dangerous' Interference in the Climate System—The Roles of Values, Science and Policy," R.H. Moss (U.S. Global Change Prog., 300 D St. SW, S. 840, Washington DC 20024), ibid., 5(1), 3-6, Mar. 1995.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is charged with providing the scientific underpinnings of the ultimate objective of the climate treaty—stabilization of greenhouse gases at a level that would "prevent dangerous anthropogenic interferences with the climate system." But determination of "dangerous" is not solely a scientific process; it involves judgments about what attributes of ecosystems and human activities are most highly valued and what level of change can be considered critical. Further interaction is needed between the policy and scientific communities to help policymakers develop a better understanding of the complexities of the climate system, and to assure that the scientific community provides information that is useful to evaluating alternative responses to climate change.

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