Establishing research objectives to address issues of climate change
The implications of global climate change are enormous. However, there are major questions concerning whether climate change is occurring. If it is, subsequent questions should consider when and how the changes will affect society. There are numerous possible expensive research projects that could address each of the many facets of these questions. Wise decision making about global climate change research is thus seen as important. This paper describes a systematic process to identify and structure the objectives of research on global climate change. The result is a hierarchy of 81 important research objectives. This hierarchy was constructed based on interviews with a diverse set of individuals knowledgeable about climate change, and on discussions at an international workshop on global climate research objectives. The participants in both exercises included scientists, policy analysts, and executives of utility companies and national agencies from Europe, Asia, and North America. The main uses of these objectives should be to promote constructive communication about research programs designed to examine climate change issues, to stimulate the creation of potentially significant research tasks, and to provide a basis for evaluating and comparing research tasks. © 1994.
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