Bridging the Climate Information Gap: A Framework for Engaging Knowledge Brokers and Decision Makers in State Climate Assessments

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Publication Date

Summer 7-16-2016


Large-scale analyses like the National Climate Assessment (NCA) contain a wealth of information critical to national and regional responses to climate change but tend to be insufficiently detailed for action at state or local levels. Many states now engage in assessment processes to meet information needs for local authorities. The goals of state climate assessments (SCAs) should be to provide relevant, actionable information to state and local authorities, and to generate primary sources, build networks and inform stakeholders. To communicate local climate impacts to decision makers, SCAs should express credibility, salience and legitimacy. They can provide information (e.g., case studies, data sets) and connect stakeholders to the NCA and its process. Based on our experience in the Vermont Climate Assessment (VCA), we present a framework to engage decision makers in SCAs using a fluid network of scientific experts and knowledge brokers to conduct subject area prioritization, data analysis and writing. The VCA addressed economic, environmental and social impacts of climate change at local scales to increase resiliency and manage risk. Knowledge brokers communicated VCA findings through their own stakeholder networks. We include a qualitative impact evaluation, and believe our framework for interaction among scientists, knowledge brokers and stakeholders to be an effective structure for SCAs and a transformative experience for students.

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© 2016 Springer



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