Title Global Change Science & Decision Making: Linking International, National, and Local Institutions
 Collaborators Alex Farrell (CMU), David Cash (Harvard), Suzanne Moser (Harvard)
 Keywords Global Change, International Environmental Policy, Science, Pollution

 A central, and as yet, unmet challenge in addressing global environmental change is how to link global science and decision making to local science and decision making. Four trends highlight the importance of linking institutions across scales: 1) aggregate local actions are the driving forces behind global environmental change; 2) implementation of internationally agreed-upon policy has direct and indirect local implications; 3) adaptation to global environmental change might be guided at many different levels but ultimately takes place a local levels; and 4) current scientific assessment efforts are struggling with the two (related) challenges of utilizing local knowledge to better understand the dynamics of the entire system, and of providing better regional and local scale impact assessments.

The project will develop three illustrative cases: water resource management in U.S. Great Plains agriculture, coastal zone management along the Atlantic and pacific coasts of the U.S., and air pollution management in Europe, with specific focus on Spain. The panel is designed to explore the linkages between international, national, and local science and decision-making institutions and to encourage dialogue in and between academic and applied fields about the issue of scale and cross-scale linkages in the context of global environmental challenges. It is organized around the following questions:

  • What are the global to national to local linkages in assessment and decision making?
  • What institutions and processes (including governance structures) exist which encourage or discourage the transfer of "useful" information to users, and the transfer of users' needs to assessors?
  • Under what conditions do these institutions operate and under what conditions are they effective?
Related Links http://environment.harvard.edu/gea/