10.1.1 Chapter Overview
The preceding chapters in this volume assess the scientific literature on specific
aspects of climate change economics and policy. This chapter is intended to
synthesize the most important policy-relevant scientific results by taking several
cuts across the material. This chapter begins with a presentation of the special
features of climate change in the context of how they affect decision-making
in different frameworks. This is followed by a list of analytical frameworks
adopted by scientists to provide advice to decision makers and by an overview
of the most important new developments since the Second Assessment Report (SAR).
This section closes with notes on decision-making processes and implications
of uncertainty for the robustness of choices.
Section 10.2 presents an assessment of key insights from
the economics and political science literature into international regimes and
policy options. The chief issue addressed in the section is how international
institutions for addressing climate change, such as the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), are simultaneously shaped by and influence
national policy choice.
Section 10.3 considers the problem of local and national
climate policy formulation in the broader context of sustainable development
objectives. The interactions of development and environmental policy objectives,
particularly as they affect non-Annex I nations, are discussed.
Section 10.4 looks at a series of policy-relevant scientific
questions related to global and international climate policy in more detail.
It focuses on what has been learned from work that examined decision making
at the global scale. While much of this literature is also cognizant of the
regional decisions that accumulate to determine global aggregates, it is united
by a global focus, common to all of the work discussed in the section. It explores
what is known about costs and benefits of actions, the timing and composition
of policy responses, and the influence of equity and fairness considerations
on policy. Finally, some concluding remarks and an outline of future tasks are
presented in the closing section.
The long tradition of using the terms decision analysis (and frameworks) and
decision making (and frameworks) largely interchangeably, and both meaning scientific
inquiries to serve decision makers, has resulted in some confusion in the case
of climate change. With a view to the political sensitivity of the issue, it
is important to clarify the terminology here at the beginning of this chapter.
Toth (2000) proposes a simple scheme to make a clear distinction to recognize
the fine borderline between a policy-relevant scientific assessment and policy
making proper. Climate change decision-making and decision analysis intended
to support it can be structured in three major domains: decision making per
se (the act of formulating decisions), decision analysis (aimed at providing
information for decision makers), and process analysis (investigating procedures
of decision making). The last two are sometimes difficult to separate and they
overlap in certain areas, but the distinction is still useful.
DMFs relevant to the climate problem have several levels. They stretch from
global and supranational fora through national and regional institutions down
to the micro-level of companies, families, and individuals. At each level, it
is useful to distinguish two parts of these DMFs: institutions that provide
the boundary conditions (jurisdictions, procedural rules, the body of earlier
agreements, etc.) and processes that fall within these frameworks (negotiations,
lobbying, persuasion). At the global level, for example, UNFCCC provides the
institutional part and negotiations represent the process part of the DMF.
To keep the term comprehensive and flexible, decision-analysis frameworks (DAFs)
are defined as analytical techniques aimed at synthesizing available information
from many (broader or narrower) segments of the climate problem to help policymakers
assess the consequences of various decision options within their own jurisdictions.
DAFs organize climate-relevant information in a suitable framework, apply a
decision criterion (based on some paradigms or theories), and identify options
that are better than others under the assumptions that characterize the analytical
framework and the application at hand. A broad range of DAFs has been used to
provide substantial information for the various DMFs involved in climate decisions
at various levels. The most important ones are depicted later in this section.
The third domain is process-analysis frameworks (PAFs), which involve assessments
of the decision-making process and provide guidance for decision making in two
main areas. The first is concerned with institutional framework design, that
is how to build policy regimes that address the problem effectively (Victor
et al., 1998; Young, 1999). The second looks at procedures of decision
making at various levels. The bulk of the literature on climate change addresses
global regime-building in framework analysis and international negotiations
in procedure analysis (Kremenyuk, 1991). Pertinent lessons from this literature
are assessed in Section 10.2.
The objective in this chapter is to provide a critical appraisal of policy-oriented
analyses and to summarize the emerging insights in a form that allows policymakers
to make informed judgements within the various DMFs. It is clearly not intended
to inflict any particular position upon the policymakers.