Assessment and Communication of the Social Science of Climate Change: Bridging Research and Policy

Memorandum from Workshop conducted 18-20 Feb. 2015 in Berlin / by Carlo Carraro, Charles Kolstad and Robert Stavins

On February 18–20, 2015, twenty-four experts gathered in Berlin to explore approaches to improving the process by which research on climate change is assessed—with a focus on the social sciences (economics, political science, policy studies). Participants discussed potential reforms in the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and also the development of assessment processes complementary to the IPCC.

The workshop was sponsored by the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (Italy), the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (Germany), and the Stanford Environmental and Energy Policy Analysis Center (USA). The Mercator Institute hosted the workshop in Berlin.

Participants included social scientists who contributed to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, users of IPCC reports (from national governments and intergovernmental organizations), and representatives of other stakeholder groups. They were based in both developed and developing countries.

Leaders of three of the sponsoring organizations, including Robert Stavins, Director of the Harvard Project, have prepared a memorandum drawing from the discussions at the workshop. The memo can also be downloaded below. The memo describes specific challenges and opportunities facing the IPCC and provides recommendations for improving the IPCC’s process of assessing scientific research on climate change.

The other authors of the memo are: Carlo Carraro, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Programme Coordinator, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, and Charles Kolstad, Senior Fellow and Professor of Economics, Stanford University. (The memo represents the views of the three authors alone and not necessarily the organizations with which they are affiliated—or of the other workshop participants.)

The organizers are grateful to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, and the Mercator Institute for financial support for the workshop.


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