leaders and practitioners recognized the value in learning from these and other assessment processes to improve future efforts.

Against this background, the CCSP, which coordinates U.S. climate and global change research conducted at 13 government agencies and is responsible for conducting global change assessments for the United States, asked the National Academies to identify lessons learned from relevant past global change assessments at both national and international levels as a guide for future assessment activities. An ad hoc committee, composed of individuals who have studied, participated in, or been users of global change assessments, was convened to prepare this report. To inform its deliberations, the committee met with scholars who have evaluated or participated in assessments, with leaders of past assessments, and with users of assessments. For the report’s conclusions, the committee draws both from existing literature and from its examination of a relatively small but varied selection of global change assessments (Table S.1), each analyzing global change processes that are at least in part driven by human activities. The committee’s recommendations provide general guidance for those who conduct assessments and also, where appropriate, identify specific issues relevant to future CCSP assessment activities.

TABLE S.1 The Eight Examples of Assessment Processes Included in the Comparative Analysis


Brief Description

Stratospheric Ozone Assessments

Prior to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, there were several national (including NRC) and international assessments analyzing ozone-depleting chemicals and the state of the stratospheric ozone layer (WMO 1982, 1986). Following the treaty, a system of expert advisory panels was established to periodically assess the atmospheric science of the ozone layer (WMO 1990a, 1990b, 1992, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007), the impacts of ozone loss (UNEP 1991a, 1994a, 1998a, 2002a), and the technology and economics of alternatives to ozone-depleting chemicals (UNEP 1991b, 1994b, 1998b, 2002b).

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

IPCC analyzes scientific and socioeconomic information on climate change and its impacts, and assesses options for mitigation and adaptation. It provides scientific, technological, and socioeconomic findings to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (IPCC 1990a,b,c, 1995a,b,c, 2001a,b,c).

Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA)

GBA provides a synthesis and analysis of available science on biodiversity to support the work of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (GBA 1995).

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