Actionable knowledge and assessment related papers:

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  • A climate science toolkit for high impact–low likelihood climate risks (2023)
    In this paper we draw together a number of ideas from recent literature, to classify four types of High Impact-Low Likelihood (HILL) climate outcome and to propose the development of a practical “toolkit” of physical climate information that can be used in future to inform HILL risk management. The toolkit consists of several elements that would need to be developed for each plausible HILL climate outcome, then deployed individually to develop targeted HILL risk management approaches for individual sectors.

  • A research agenda for the science of actionable knowledge: Drawing from a review of the most misguided to the most enlightened claims in the science-policy interface literature (2023)
    [W]e construct a research agenda to motivate future scientific research on actionable knowledge, prioritizing areas that experts identified as critical gaps in understanding of the science-society interface. The resulting agenda focuses on how to define success, support intermediaries, build trust, and evaluate the importance of consensus and its alternatives – all in the diverse contexts of science-society-decision-making interactions.

  • Climate Science and Law for Judges: Impacts of Climate Change (2023)
    The module first introduces the nature of scientific evidence and approaches for the impacts of
    climate change. It next presents a conceptual framework for climate change impacts, focused on the
    ways in which climate risks arise from climate hazards and exposure, vulnerability, and responses to
    them. Major categories of climate impacts and risks, including both impacts that have already
    occurred and future risks, are then reviewed overall and type by type.

  • Enhancing the review process in global environmental assessments: the case of the IPCC (2022)
    External review is a fundamental component of Global Environmental Assessments, ensuring their processes are comprehensive, objective, open and transparent, and are perceived as such. Here, we focus on review of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports. Here we analyse review documents from the Fourth and Fifth Assessments, focusing primarily on Working Group II. We address three questions: Is the review representative? Is it comprehensive? Is it insightful?

  • Make greenhouse-gas accounting reliable—build interoperable systems (2022)
    We are researchers and practitioners from academia, industry and non-profit organizations who have developed a vision for an integrated global system of greenhouse-gas ‘ledgers’ that can balance the books of emissions and removals across the planet. Using interoperable accounting methods adapted from the financial sector, this system must create inventories of greenhouse gases emitted by nations and companies, catalogue emissions embodied in global supply chains and track fluxes of these gases in and out of ecosystems. Recent advances in remote sensing and digital technologies put this vision within reach. Here we outline a road map for doing so.

  • Functionality-based life cycle assessment framework: an information and communication technologies (ICT) product case study (2022)
    Building upon LCA methodology, this study proposes a user-oriented, functionality-based LCA (FLCA) framework that evaluates the environmental impact of multifunctional ICT products such as smartphones. Incorporating the quality function deployment and LCA literature, we develop an approach that highlights the linkages among user behavior, product functionalities, and product environmental footprints.

  • Point of Departure and Key Concepts (2022)
    The IPCC Working Group II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report addresses the challenges of climate action in the context of sustainable development with a particular focus on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. This chapter frames the point of departure and key concepts building on the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), and the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL); as well as the WGI contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report and complements the contribution of the WGIII Sixth Assessment Report, which will be published after this report.

  • Cross-Chapter Box ADAPT: Adaptation science (2022)
    This cross-chapter box complements the reviews of specific adaptation knowledge, content and progress described throughout WGII by providing a higher-level analysis of the shifting characteristics of and trends in adaptation research and its evolution over time.

  • Decision-Making Options for Managing Risk (2022)
    Chapter 17 assesses the options, processes and enabling conditions for climate risk management, a key component of climate resilient development. [T]his chapter focuses on the ‘how’ of climate risk management and adaptation.

  • Cross-Chapter Box DEEP: Effective adaptation and decision-making under deep uncertainties (2022)
    Adaptation decision-making can benefit from assessments that support planning for both ‘what is most likely ’ as well as for stress-testing adaptation options over a range of scenarios. This Cross-Chapter Box summarises how deep uncertainties can be assessed in decision-making and addressed practically for adaptation

  • Cross-Chapter Box SRM: Solar radiation modification (2022)
    This cross-working group box assesses solar radiation modification (SRM) proposals, their potential contribution to reducing or increasing climate risk, as well as other risks they may pose, and related perception, ethics and governance questions.

  • Framing, Context, and Methods (2021)
    Working Group I (WGI) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assesses the current evidence on the physical science of climate change, evaluating knowledge gained from observations, reanalyses, paleoclimate archives and climate model simulations, as well as physical, chemical and biological climate processes.

  • From fAIrplay to climate wars: making climate change scenarios more dynamic, creative, and integrative (2021)
    We adapted the Manoa Mash-Up method to generate scenarios for CDR and SRM that were more integrative, creative, and dynamic. The method was modified to identify important branching points in which different choices in how to respond to climate change (feedbacks between climate and social dynamics) lead to a plurality of climate futures.

  • A global assessment of policy tools to support climate adaptation (2021)
    Using data from a systematic review of academic literature on global adaptation responses to climate change (n = 1549 peer-reviewed articles), we categorize the types of policy tools used to shape climate adaptation. We apply qualitative and quantitative analyses to assess the contexts where particular tools are used, along with equity implications for groups targeted by the tools, and the tools’ relationships with transformational adaptation indicators such as the depth, scope, and speed of adaptation.

  • News media coverage of COVID-19 public health and policy information (2021)
    This study assesses print and online newspaper coverage of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 for March 2020, when the global pandemic was declared, through August 2020 in three countries: Canada (with the lowest per-capita case and death rates during the study timeframe), the United Kingdom (with a pronounced early spike), and the United States (with persistently high rates). Tools previously validated for pandemic-related news records allow measurement of multiple indicators of scientific quality (i.e., reporting that reflects the state of scientific knowledge) and of sensationalism (i.e., strategies rendering news as more extraordinary than it really is).

  • A framework for complex climate change risk assessment (2021)
    In this perspective, we present a framework for three categories of increasingly complex climate change risk that focus on interactions among the multiple drivers of risk, as well as among multiple risks. A significant innovation is recognizing that risks can arise both from potential impacts due to climate change and from responses to climate change. This approach encourages thinking that traverses sectoral and regional boundaries and links physical and socio-economic drivers of risk. Advancing climate change risk assessment in these ways is essential for more informed decision making that reduces negative climate change impacts.

  • Editorial overview: the science of actionable knowledge (2020)
    In this issue, ten teams of scholars working on the science of actionable knowledge provide reviews of research across diverse topics and questions in this space. Taken together, these articles highlight the breadth and depth of work that this line of inquiry can produce, even as they underscore the knowledge gaps.

  • Actionable knowledge and the art of engagement (2020)
    Scholars and practitioners have increasingly advocated that the traditional linear model of knowledge production, with its unidirectional flow of information from researchers to policymakers,be replaced by a new approach inwhich researchers and knowledge-users meaningfully interact to co-create knowledge that is actionable in decision-making. This popular model — coproduction — has advanced thinking on how to create usable knowledge.

  • Great expectations? Reconciling the aspiration, outcome, and possibility of co-production (2020)
    This paper reviews recent examples of co-produced research alongside current theorization on the topic. Focusing on the area of climate change adaptation, we find that co-produced climate change adaptation research appears to be improving knowledge use, among other positive outcomes, but a difference emerges between the range of outcomes reported in practice and the scope of ambition conceived through theory.

  • Insights for developing effective decision support tools for environmental sustainability (2020)
    Here we identify key characteristics of successful DSTs that enhance decision quality through a review of the literature, and then consider some ways that the ecosystem of decision support activities—coastal plan process and planning tool—used to develop Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan embody these characteristics.

  • Three roles for education in climate change adaptation (2020)
    Education, appropriately conceived, can be a powerful tool in enabling effective adaptation to climate change. In this article, we identify three distinct but overlapping policy uses. First, protecting and deploying education infrastructure, the social and material resources on which education depends, can reduce vulnerability and build resilience. Second, improving general education, measured in terms of literacy, school attendance, and overall academic attainment, can enhance adaptive capacity. Third, research-based adaptation learning support can accelerate social and policy change by maximizing learning before and during adaptive decision-making.

  • To co-produce or not to co-produce (2018)
    In this Comment, we discuss knowledge co-production as a focus of research and as a rapidly spreading practice among scientists, stakeholders and funders seeking to increase the role of science in solving society’s most pressing problems.

  • Toward the next generation of assessment (2017)
    In this review, we take stock of recent advances and challenges, rooting our analysis in climate change assessment. In particular, we consider four priorities in assessment: (a) integrating diverse evidence including quantitative and qualitative results and understanding, (b) applying rigorous expert judgment to evidence and its uncertainties, (c) exploring widely ranging futures and their connections to ongoing choices and actions, and (d) incorporating interactions among experts and decision makers in assessment processes.

  • Unleashing expert judgment in assessment (2017)
    Here we evaluate advances and challenges in approaches to expert judgment in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5).

  • IPCC reasons for concern regarding climate change risks (2017)
    The reasons for concern framework, now a cornerstone of the IPCC assessments, aggregates global risks into five categories as a function of global mean temperature change. We review the framework's conceptual basis and the risk judgments made in the most recent IPCC report, confirming those judgments in most cases in the light of more recent literature and identifying their limitations.

  • A multistage crucible of revision and approval shapes IPCC policymaker summaries (2016)
    We provide an in-depth evaluation of IPCC summary for policymakers (SPM) revisions, establishing an evidential basis for understanding their nature.

  • Make climate-change assessments more relevant (2016)
    The challenge for those who assess such scientific knowledge, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is to summarize results in ways that are true to the original research, explicit about the values and judgements in the analysis, and digestible by and useful to policymakers and the public.

  • Mapping the climate change challenge (2016)
    One way to communicate the costs and benefits of climate change policies is through a mapping that systematically explores the consequences of different choices. This Perspective summarizes this approach, reviews its strengths and limitations, and discusses how decision-makers can use its results in practice. It also identifies research needs that can facilitate integrated analysis of climate change and help better inform policy-makers and the public.

  • Understanding and responding to danger from climate change: the role of key risks in the IPCC AR5 (2016)
    In this article, we introduce the innovations and implications of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) approach for identifying key risks in a changing climate to inform judgments about danger from climate change and to empower responses, which extends analysis across sectors and regions, and consider relevance for future research and assessment.
  • Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014)
    Section A of this summary characterizes observed impacts, vulnerability and exposure, and adaptive responses to date. Section B examines future risks and potential benefits. Section C considers  principles for effective adaptation and the broader interactions among adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development.

  • Technical Summary. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014)
    Section A of this summary characterizes observed impacts, vulnerability and exposure, and adaptive responses to date. Section B examines future risks and potential benefits across sectors and regions, highlighting where choices matter for reducing risks through mitigation and adaptation. Section C considers principles for effective adaptation and the broader interactions among adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development.

  • Treatment of uncertainties in IPCC Assessment Reports: past approaches and considerations for the Fifth Assessment Report (2011)
    Here we consider the motivations for the most recent revision of the uncertainties guidance provided to author teams of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Our primary focus is the interpretation and application of the guidance provided to author teams in the Fourth Assessment Report, with analysis of the successes and challenges in the application of this guidance and approaches taken in usage of its calibrated uncertainty language.

  • The IPCC AR5 guidance note on consistent treatment of uncertainties: a common approach across the working groups (2011)
    A goal for the Fifth Assessment Report, which is currently under development, is the application of a common framework with associated calibrated uncertainty language that can be used to characterize findings of the assessment process. A guidance note for authors of the Fifth Assessment Report has been developed that describes this common approach and language, building upon the guidance employed in past Assessment Reports. Here, we introduce the main features of this guidance note, with a focus on how it has been designed for use by author teams.

  • Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties (2010)
    These guidance notes are intended to assist Lead Authors of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)
    in the consistent treatment of uncertainties across all three Working Groups. These notes define
    a common approach and calibrated language that can be used broadly for developing expert
    judgments and for evaluating and communicating the degree of certainty in findings of the
    assessment process.