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Parris, Thomas M., Charles A. Zracket, and William C. Clark. 1998. "Usable Knowledge for Managing Responses to Global Environmental Change: Recommendations to Promote Collaborative Assessments and Information Systems." Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) Discussion Paper E-98-26. Cambridge, MA: Environment and Natural Resources Program, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; also International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Interim Report IR-97-038/August.

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In January 1993, Harvard University's Center for Science and International Affairs and the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) initiated a joint project to conduct a study of global environmental change information policy. The project convened the Commission on Global Environmental Change Information Policy - a distinguished group of twenty-one national leaders in environmental policy analysis, Earth systems science research, and information systems - to formulate a set of concepts and policies that will promote the effective and widespread use of emerging knowledge about global environmental processes by policy analysts in government, industry, academia, and other non-governmental organizations. This report is the product of the Commission's deliberations.

The Commission members were selected to cover three representation matrices. The policy analysis community matrix had two dimensions: geographic scale of the analysis, and institutional perspective. The Earth systems science matrix also had two dimensions: discipline, and major research program. Finally the information systems matrix was broken down into three components: information technology, information policy, and information services.

The Commission met in a series of four workshops, beginning in May 1993 and ending in September 1994. Several federal officials involved with the US Global Change Research Program attended the workshops as active observers.

This paper draws extensively upon the comments and advice of the Commission members throughout this process. However, responsibility for its content lies with the named authors. Individual Commission members have not approved the text that follows.


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