Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 267–279 | Cite as

Informing global environmental policy‐making: A plea for new methods of assessment and synthesis

  • Edward A. Parson
Article

Abstract

Practice and research in assessment of global environmental change are dominated by two conventional assessment methods, formal models and expert panels. Models construct a representation of biophysical and socio‐economic components of a policy issue, to project future trends or consequences of interventions. Panels articulate consensus views of policy‐relevant knowledge through deliberations among selected experts. These methods make valuable contributions, but are weak in addressing certain kinds of knowledge needs that are typical of global‐change issues. To address these needs, a set of novel assessment methods is proposed that combine elements of representation and deliberation. These methods, of which policy exercises, simulation‐gaming, and scenario exercises are examples, involve human participants in structured relevant decision and task settings. Relative to models and panels, these methods can more readily incorporate diverse perspectives, can integrate across broader collections of knowledge domains, and can both encourage creative insights and innovations, and provide tests of their relevance and practicality. Risks of bias, and of over‐confident generalization from unique experiences, are effectively mitigated by critical debriefings, and appear no more severe than corresponding risks in conventional assessment methods, or in policy‐makers’ generalizations from historical experience. While serious development and implementation challenges remain, early experience suggests that these methods can offer useful ideas and insights for policy‐making that are not available through other means.

integrated assessment assessment methods policy exercises simulation‐gaming scenarios global change 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. [1]
    J. Alcamo, R. Shaw and L. Hordijk, eds., The RAINS Model of Acidification: Science and Strategies in Europe (Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1990).Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    R.K. Ashley, The eye of power: the politics of world modeling, MIT and the World Peace Foundation, International Organization 37(3) (1983).Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    M.B.A. van Asselt, A.H.W. Beusen and H.B.M. Hilderink, Uncertainty in integrated assessment: a social scientific perspective, Environmental Modeling and Assessment 1 (1996) 71–90.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    G.O. Barney, The Global 2000 Report to the President, A report prepared by the Council on Environmental Quality and the Department of State (Penguin, London, 1982).Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    P. Bracken, Unintended consequences of strategic gaming, Simulation and Games 8 (1977) 283–318.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    P. Bracken, Gaming in hierarchical defense organizations, in: Avoiding the Brink: Theory and Practice in Crisis Management, eds. A.C. Goldberg, D. van Opstal and J.H. Barkley (Brassey's, London, 1990) pp. 81–98.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    G.D. Brewer, Methods for synthesis: policy exercises, in: Sustainable Development of the Biosphere, eds. W.C. Clark and R.E. Munn (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986) pp. 455–473.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    G. Brewer, Discovery is not prediction, in: Avoiding the Brink: Theory and Practice in Crisis Management, eds. A.C. Goldberg, D. van Opstal and J.H. Barkley (Brassey's, London, 1990) pp. 99–107.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    G.D. Brewer and M. Shubik, The War Game: A Critique of Military Problem-Solving (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1979).Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    H. Brooks, What to do when the experts disagree, Lecture presented at Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana (June 22, 1987).Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, International environmental research and assessment: proposals for better organization and decision-making, Washington, DC (July 1992).Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    W.C. Clark, Sustainable development of the biosphere: themes for a research program, in: Sustainable Development of the Biosphere, eds. W.C. Clark and R.E. Munn (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986).Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR), President's National Science and Technology Council, CENR environmental assessments: principles and mechanisms for assessment, Draft of 26 September 1994, Washington, DC (1994).Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    Crisis games: a rejoinder to Tom Schelling and to some extent to Bill Jones, Internal research memorandum, in: Crisis Games 27 Years Later: plus c'est deja vu, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA (1964).Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    N.C. Dalkey, The Delphi Method (Lexington Books, Lexington, MA, 1972).Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    H. DeWeerd, Political military scenarios, P-3535, The Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, CA (1967).Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    H. DeWeerd, A contextual approach to scenario construction, Simulation and Games 5 (1975) 403–414.Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    H. Dowlatabadi, Integrated assessment of climate change: an incomplete overview, Energy Policy 23(4/5) (1995).Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    H. Dowlatabadi and M. Granger Morgan, Integrated assessment of climate change, Science 259 (1993) 1813.Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    East Anglia Regional Health Authority: Office for Public Management, Contracting for health outcomes: Report of a workshop to explore the workings of an internal market in the health service (1990).Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    L.S. Etheredge, Can Governments Learn? (Pergamon Press, New York, 1985).Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    J.W. Forrester, World Dynamics (Wright-Allen Press, Cambridge, 1971).Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    S.O. Funtowicz and J.R. Ravetz, Three types of risk assessment: a methodological analysis, in: Risk Analysis in the Private Sector, eds. C. Whipple and V.T. Covello (Plenum Press, New York, 1985) pp. 217–232.Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    M. Greenberger, M.A. Crenson and B.L. Crissey, Models in the Policy Process: Public Decision Making in the Computer Era (Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 1976).Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    M. Greenberger, G.D. Brewer, W.W. Hogan and M. Russell, Caught Unawares: The Energy Decade in Retrospect (Ballinger, Cambridge, MA, 1983).Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    C.A. Gough, P.D. Bailey, B. Biewald, J.C.I. Kuylenstierna and M.J. Chadwick, Environmentally targeted objectives for reducing acidification in Europe, Energy Policy 22 (1994) 1055–1066.Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    A.J. Grobecker, S.C. Coroniti and R.H. Cannon, Jr., The report of findings: the effects of stratospheric pollution by aircraft, DOT-TST-75-50, US Department of Transportation, Climatic Impact Assessment Program, National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA (December 1974).Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    C.S. Holling, ed., Adaptive Environmental Assessment and Management (Wiley, Chichester, 1978).Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    C. Hope, J. Anderson and P. Wenman, Policy analysis of the greenhouse effect: an application of the PAGE model, Energy Policy 21 (1993) 327–338.Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    W.R. Huss, A move toward scenario analysis, International Journal of Forecasting 4 (1988) 377–388.Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    W.M. Jones, On free-form gaming, Rand Note N-2322-RC, Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, CA (1985).Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    D.W. Keith, When is it appropriate to combine expert judgments? An editorial essay, Climatic Change 33(2) (1996) 139–143.Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    K.N. Lee, Compass and Gyroscope: Integrating Science and Politics for the Environment (Island Press, Washington, DC, 1993).Google Scholar
  34. [34]
    R.A. Levine, Crisis games for adults, Internal research memorandum, in: Crisis Games 27 Years Later: plus c'est deja vu, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA (1964).Google Scholar
  35. [35]
    L. Lunde, Science or politics in the global greenhouse? The development towards scientific consensus on climate change, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oslo, Norway (October 1992).Google Scholar
  36. [36]
    D.H. Meadows, D.L. Meadows, J. Randers and W.H. Behrens III, The Limits to Growth, A report for the Club of Rome's project on the predicament of mankind (Universe Books, New York, 1972).Google Scholar
  37. [37]
    D.H. Meadows and J.M. Robinson, The Electronic Oracle: Computer Models and Social Decisions (Wiley, New York, 1985).Google Scholar
  38. [38]
    H.J. Miser and E.S. Quade, eds., Handbook of Systems Analysis: Overview of Uses, Procedures, Applications and Practice (North-Holland, New York, 1985).Google Scholar
  39. [39]
    N. Nakicenovic, W.D. Nordhaus, R. Richels and F. Toth, eds., Integrative Assessment of Mitigation, Impacts, and Adaptation to Climate Change, Proceedings of a Workshop held on 13–15 October 1993 at IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria (1994).Google Scholar
  40. [40]
    W.D. Nordhaus and G.W. Yohe, Future carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, in: Changing Climate. Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee (National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1983).Google Scholar
  41. [41]
    E.A. Parson, Negotiating climate cooperation: learning from theory, simulations, and history, Doctoral dissertation in public policy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (May 1992).Google Scholar
  42. [42]
    E.A. Parson, Searching for integrated assessment: a preliminary investigation of methods and projects in the integrated assessment of climate change, Paper presented to the 3rd meeting of the CIESIN Commission on Global Environmental Change Information Policy, Washington, DC (February 17, 1994).Google Scholar
  43. [43]
    E.A. Parson, Integrated assessment and environmental policy-making: in pursuit of usefulness, Energy Policy 23(4/5) (1995) 463–475.Google Scholar
  44. [44]
    E.A. Parson, What can you learn from a game?, in: Wise Choices: Games, Decisions, Negotiations, eds. R. Zeckhauser, R.L. Keeney and J.K. Sebenius (Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA, 1996).Google Scholar
  45. [45]
    E.A. Parson and K. Fisher-Vanden, Integrated assessment of global climate change, Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 22 (1997).Google Scholar
  46. [46]
    E. Paté-Cornell, Uncertainties in global climate change estimates, Climatic Change 33(2) (1996).Google Scholar
  47. [47]
    J. Risbey, M. Kandlikar and A. Patwardhan, Assessing integrated assessments, Climatic Change 34 (1996) 369–395.Google Scholar
  48. [48]
    J. Rotmans, IMAGE: An Integrated Model to Assess the Greenhouse Effect (Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1990).Google Scholar
  49. [49]
    P.H. Sand, Lessons learned in global environmental governance, World Resources Institute, Washington, DC (June 1990).Google Scholar
  50. [50]
    P. Sands, ed., Greening International Law (Earthscan Publications, London, 1994).Google Scholar
  51. [51]
    SCEP (Study on Critical Environmental Problems), Man's Impact on the Global Environment (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1970).Google Scholar
  52. [52]
    T.C. Schelling, An uninhibited pitch for crisis games, Internal research memorandum, in: Crisis Games 27 Years Later: plus c'est deja vu, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA (1964).Google Scholar
  53. [53]
    T. Schelling, Nuclear History Program Oral History Project, Interview with Thomas Schelling, University of Maryland, Center for International Security Studies at Maryland School of Public Affairs (1994).Google Scholar
  54. [54]
    P.J.H. Schoemaker, Scenario planning: a tool for strategic thinking, Sloan Management Review (Winter 1995).Google Scholar
  55. [55]
    R.L. Schultz and E.M. Sullivan, Developments in simulation in social and administrative science, in: Simulation in the Social and Administrative Sciences, eds. H. Guetzkow, P. Kotler and R.L. Schultz (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1972).Google Scholar
  56. [56]
    M. Shubik, The Uses and Methods of Gaming (Elsevier, New York, 1975).Google Scholar
  57. [57]
    SMIC, Inadvertent Climate Modification, Report of the study of man's impact on climate (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1971).Google Scholar
  58. [58]
    H.L. Smith, The social forecasting industry, in: Forecasting in the Social and Natural Sciences, eds. K.C. Land and S.H. Schneider (D. Reidel, Dordrecht, 1987).Google Scholar
  59. [59]
    P. Starr, Seductions of SIM: policy as a simulation game, The American Prospect 17 (1994) 19–29.Google Scholar
  60. [60]
    E. Stokey and R. Zeckhauser, A Primer for Policy Analysis (W.W. Norton, New York, 1978).Google Scholar
  61. [61]
    L. Susskind, Environmental Diplomacy: Negotiating More Effective International Environmental Agreements (Oxford University Press, New York, 1994).Google Scholar
  62. [62]
    U. Svedin and B. Aniansson, eds., Surprising futures, Notes from an International Workshop on Long-term World Development, Friibergh Manor, Sweden, January 1986, Report 87:1, Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research, Stockholm (1987).Google Scholar
  63. [63]
    F.L. Toth, Policy exercises: the first ten years, Paper presented to the 1994 meeting of ISAGA (International Simulation and Gaming Association), Ann Arbor, MI (July 1994).Google Scholar
  64. [64]
    F.L. Toth, Practice and progress in integrated assessments of climate change: a workshop overview, Energy Policy 23 (1995) 253–267.Google Scholar
  65. [65]
    UNCED and the development of International Environmental Law, in: Year-Book of International Environmental Law, ed. G. Handl, Vol. 3 (Graham and Trotman, London, 1992).Google Scholar
  66. [66]
    A.M. Weinberg, Science and trans-science, Minerva 10 (1972) 209–222.Google Scholar
  67. [67]
    E.B. Weiss, In Fairness to Future Generations: International Law, Common Patrimony, and Intergenerational Equity (Transnational Publishers, Irvington-on-Hudson, NY, 1989).Google Scholar
  68. [68]
    E.B. Weiss, International Environmental Law: contemporary issues and the emergence of a new world order, Georgetown Law Journal 81 (1993) 675–706.Google Scholar
  69. [69]
    J. Weyant et al., Integrated assessment of climate change: an overview and comparison of approaches and results, in: Climate Change 1995: Economic and Social Dimensions of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eds. J.P. Bruce, H. Lee and E.F. Haites (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996).Google Scholar
  70. [70]
    O. Young, International Cooperation: Building Regimes for Natural Resources and the Environment, Cornell Studies in Political Economy (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1989).Google Scholar
  71. [71]
    O.R. Young, International Governance: Protecting the Environment in a Stateless Society, Cornell Studies in Political Economy (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1994).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward A. Parson
    • 1
  1. 1.John F. Kennedy School of GovernmentHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations