Climate assessment and decision-making

April 30, 2015


Adapted from Parris et al. 2012 with input from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

CCASS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Richard Moss presented a lecture, “Minding the Gap: Ideas for Increasing the Decision Relevance of Climate Assessments” at the University of Arizona on April 30, 2015.  His presentation is available here.

People, places, and things are vulnerable to interacting changes in climate and society, and scientific uncertainties can seem to make assessing consequences and planning responses a challenge. However, much is understood about climate change and its potential impacts that can provide a useful input to decision making about avoiding unmanageable levels of change and adapting to changes that can no longer be avoided. This talk will focus on ideas for increasing the utility of climate science assessments for planning adaptation and mitigation. It will review innovations in the Third US National Climate Assessment (NCA), completed in 2014, intended to make climate and impacts research useful to analysts and decision makers. These innovations included approaches for assessing and communicating uncertainties and confidence, sea level change scenarios for risk management, and assessment of decision support applications of climate science. It will also discuss the planned "sustained assessment" process for the NCA and continued innovations required to support climate change risk management. 

Richard H. Moss is a senior scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a collaboration of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland. Moss previously directed the Office of the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP); served as a technical support director, author, and review editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and directed climate and energy programs at the World Wildlife Fund and the UN Foundation. He chairs the US National Academy of Science’s Board on Environmental Change and Society (the focal point at the NAS for research on the ‘human dimensions’ of global change) and served in multiple roles on the federal advisory committee for the recently completed Third US National Climate Assessment (NCA3). Moss received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in public policy. He is the author of numerous articles and research reports.