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Assessing integrated assessments


Integrated assessment of global environmental change is a relatively new field that is beginning to define itself and its forms of practice. As yet, the field has not grappled directly with issues of quality control and assessment of quality, and this work is a first attempt in that direction. We argue that if integrated assessment is to be successful in the long run, then building and maintaining credibility via quality control procedures is a necessary condition for realizing its potential. We highlight a number of pitfalls in the practice of integrated assessment, and discuss their causes. We buttress our concerns using examples from both within climate change integrated assessment, and from the history of other similar endeavors. We also provide a number of suggestions that we hope will serve to alleviate some of these pitfalls. For instance, tools, methods, and assumptions from disciplines form archetypes for components in integrated assessment models, and we need to apply greater scrutiny to these archetypes. Further, tools which may be reasonable to use in particular disciplinary, geographical, or temporal contexts may be unsuited to the broader contexts inherent in integrated assessment studies of global environmental change.

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Risbey, J., Kandlikar, M. & Patwardhan, A. Assessing integrated assessments. Climatic Change 34, 369–395 (1996).

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  • Climate Change
  • Quality Control
  • Environmental Change
  • Assessment Model
  • Control Procedure