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The following four papers constitute a special section in Clim. Change, 34(3-4), Nov.-Dec. 1996.

Item #d97jan6

"Three Dilemmas in the Integrated Assessment of Climate," E.A. Parson (JFK School of Govt., Harvard Univ., 79 JFK St., Cambridge MA 02138), 315-326.

A lengthy comment relating to the following three papers, which together address these fundamental dilemmas: interdisciplinary and critical standards; the dependence of integrated assessments on future projections of human choice and behavior; and how integrated assessment relates to other factors involved in policy formulation.

Item #d97jan7

"Integrated Assessment: A Growing Child on Its Way to Maturity," J. Rotmans (Div. Sustainable Development, United Nations, 2 UN Plaza, Rm. DC 2-2246, New York NY 10017), M. Van Asselt, 327-336.

An essay discussing the most persistent conceptions about integrated assessment, an appropriate framework for it, the current state of the art, and major future challenges, the greatest of which is gaining credibility.

Item #d97jan8

"Learning from Integrated Assessment of Climate Change," M.G. Morgan (Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh PA 15213), H. Dowlatabadi, 337-368.

Reflects on broad insights gained in the course of five years of integrated assessment activity at Carnegie Mellon University. Discusses who the climate decision makers are; the nature of the climate problem; studies of climate impacts; and selected policy issues. Concludes that the issue of equity has received too little attention in past work; many conventional tools for policy analysis are inadequate for the climate problem; and values that change, and mixed levels of uncertainty, pose particularly important challenges for the future.

Item #d97jan9

"Assessing Integrated Assessments," J. Risbey (Dept. Eng. & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh PA 15213), M. Kandlikar, A. Patwardhan, 369-395.

Offers a first attempt to grapple with the issues of quality control and assessment of quality. Building and maintaining credibility via quality control is a necessary condition for realizing the potential of integrated assessment. Highlights a number of pitfalls and discusses their causes, offering suggestions for alleviating them. For instance, tools which may be reasonable to use in particular disciplinary, geographical, or temporal contexts may be unsuited to the broader contexts inherent in integrated assessments of global environmental change.

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