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September 05 , 2007

Assessments of Regional and Global Environmental Risks

Designing Processes for the Effective Use of Science in Decisionmaking


As environmental challenges grow larger in scale and implications, it is increasingly important to apply the best scientific knowledge in the decisionmaking process. Editors Farrell and J�ger present environmental assessments as the bridge between the expert knowledge of scientists and engineers on the one hand and decisionmakers on the other. When done well, assessments have a positive impact on public policy, the strategic decisions of private firms, and, ultimately, the quality of life for many people. This book is the result of an international, interdisciplinary research project to analyze past environmental assessments and understand how their design influenced their effectiveness in bringing scientific evidence and insight into the decisionmaking process. The case studies in the book feature a wide range of regional and global risks, including ozone depletion, transboundary air pollution, and climate change. Assessments of Regional and Global Environmental Risks offers several important contributions. It provides a clear account of the choices faced in the design of environmental assessments and a clear description of the lessons learned from past assessments. It illustrates why assessments are social processes, not simply reports. And, while they identify no universal, one-size-fits-all design, the authors find that, to be effective, environmental assessments must be viewed by those who produce and use them as being salient; credible in their scientific support; and legitimate, or fair in design and execution.
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