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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Co-producing useful climate science for policy: Lessons from the RISA program
by McNie, Elizabeth Clark, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2008, 292; 3315839
Abstract (Summary)

Scientists have declared with widespread consensus that our global climate is changing, getting warmer and causing widespread perturbations in ecosystems around the world. While fundamental research has been invaluable to enhancing our understanding of climate systems and of likely future climatic conditions, focusing on the global scale elides the truth about adapting to climate: that developing resiliency to climate change will be done at the country, region, local, or watershed scales. Consequently, policy makers from around the world are calling for the production and dissemination of more useful climate information: information that expands alternatives, clarifies choices and improves society's resilience to climate variability and change. Unfortunately at this time, many barriers between science and society persist, thus weakening the linkages between the climate science community and society. These weak linkages result in an overproduction of the wrong kind of information, underproduction of information that decisions makers need, or other missed connections between the needs of decision makers and producers of climate science information. Consequently, many science and technology policy researchers have called for a new relationship between science and society, in which use-inspired research responds to the needs of society.

One program, the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Program Office, seeks to do just that by producing usable climate science, sustainable decision support, and place-based integrated climate sciences for decision makers from a wide variety of sectors, including natural resource management, agriculture, and public health. This research examined three RISA programs (the Pacific RISA, the Climate Impacts Group, and the Climate Assessment of the Southwest) in order to assess whether use-inspired research does lead to the production of useful climate information for decision makers. The research also identified the practices and institutions within the RISAs that best support the co-production of useful climate information and how the RISAs set their use-inspired research agendas. Additionally, the research examined what policies and institutions are needed to support programs such as the RISAs, and also explored whether the infusion of democratic values of participation, transparency and accountability enhanced the production of useful climate information. Ultimately, lessons learned and analysis from this research speaks to three communities: those individuals engaged in the co-production of use-inspired research; decision makers interested in the development of a National Climate Service; and researchers in the field of science and technology policy research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pielke, Roger A., Jr.
Commitee: Carmen-Lemos, Maria, Dilling, Lisa, Fitch, Sam, Sarewitz, Daniel
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Environmental Studies
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 69/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science, Environmental science
Keywords: Climate change, Climate services, Coproduction, Decision-making, Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments, Science and technology policy, Useful information
Publication Number: 3315839
ISBN: 978-0-549-67376-7
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