Information for Decision-Makers

Little time, limited resources, and always more fires to put out than people to do it. Here is a resource that may be helpful if you are dealing with challenges such as the following:

What does climate change mean for my community?

 

We need to start thinking about the long-term impacts of climate change - where to begin?

 

How prepared is my community for dealing with climate change impacts such as sea-level rise and related coastal hazards?

 

How can I plan for an uncertain future if today I’m dealing with the very real and certain impacts of a storm that just came through?

 

How do I design a communications and outreach campaign around global warming?

 

What is the best way to involve stakeholders in an assessment (or decision-making) process?

These are the kinds of questions I explore in my research and outreach.

To be policy-relevant I conduct much of my research in close consultation with policy- and decision-makers. I also research the policy- and decision-making processes so that scientists can learn to work more effectively with practitioners, and practitioners can learn from each other, especially in decision contexts where new or unfamiliar issues are being tackled.

If you are interested in the insights I’ve gained or in expert advice on any of the topics listed below. Please feel free to contact me.

Search by Topic
Coastal Hazard Management | Climate Change Impacts | Societal Adaptation to Climate Change | Effective Communication of Climate Change | Mitigation of Climate Change | The Use of Science in Decision-Making | Decision-Making Under Uncertainty | Stakeholder Participation in Assessments & Decision-Making

Search by Location
Hawai'i | Alaska | California, Washington & Oregon | New England | Mid- & South-Atlantic Coast
Gulf Coast
| Great Lakes | Iowa

My Outreach Experience
Work at the Federal Level | Work at the State Level | Work at the Local Level

Policy-Relevant Research Topics

Coastal Hazard Management

Much of my research has focused on the impacts of and responses to sea-level rise and related coastal hazards (floods, erosion) in coastal areas. Current research focuses on coastal management challenges in New England and in California (check back later).

For selected relevant reports and publications, click here.

Climate Change Impacts

I have directly contributed to several studies focused on the impacts of climate change on various regions, coastal areas, and human health. I am currently working on impacts studies focused on New England and California (check back later).

For selected relevant reports and publications, click here.

Societal Adaptation to Climate Change

My interest in societal response to climate change has mainly focused on adaptation. (See also the section on Climate Change Impacts).

For selected relevant reports and publications, click here.

Effective Communication of Climate Change

Climate change is a difficult topic to communicate in a way that engages audiences. Yet, for society to act on climate change, i.e., to reduce the causes of human-induced global warming and to adapt to inevitable changes, the public and policy-makers need to understand the risks, possible implications, and available options for remedial action.

For selected relevant reports and publications, click here.

Mitigation of Climate Change

In the U.S., individuals, local communities, businesses and organizations, states, and to a lesser extent policy-makers at the national level are beginning to take action to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

For relevant publications, click here.

The Use of Science in Decision-Making

Many environmental and social policy issues benefit from appropriate and timely scientific input. Some of my research has focused on how policy- and decision-makers use scientific information, and on how scientists can make their information more relevant to resource managers and policy-makers.

For selected relevant reports and publications, click here.

Decision-Making Under Uncertainty

Decision-makers must always act under conditions of uncertainty. Few contexts, however, are more affected by uncertainty than long-range global climate change and related impacts. Uncertainty is also a critical focus in global change research – how to improve our understanding of uncertainty, how to describe it, reduce it, and communicate it to decision-makers.

For selected relevant reports and publications, click here.

Stakeholder Participation in Assessments and Decision-Making

Research suggests that – under certain circumstances and if done effectively – involving those who may be affected by a particular environmental problem, policy, or decision in the assessment and decision-making process, can lead to better outcomes. I have closely followed the involvement of stakeholders in the First U.S. National Assessment and in ongoing institutions such as the NOAA-funded Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment centers around the country.

For selected relevant reports and publications, click here.


Research by Location

Hawai’i

My research in Hawai’i focused on how the state was responding to climate change and sea-level rise in the late 1990s.

For relevant publications, click here.

Alaska

I summarized the proceedings of a workshop mainly sponsored by NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) Program, held in Anchorage in 2004. The workshop brought together scientists and stakeholders to assess research needs related to the impacts of climate change in that large state.

For relevant publications, click here.

California, Washington and Oregon

My work along the West coast has focused on climate change impacts (mainly California) and on coastal erosion and community responses to that problem (Washington, Oregon).

For relevant publications, click here.

New England

My work in New England has focused repeatedly on state and local responses to coastal hazards such as sea-level rise, flooding and coastal erosion. A study is currently underway to examine local responses to sea-level rise in Massachusetts and New York (check back later).

For relevant publications, click here.

Mid- and South-Atlantic Coast

My work along the mid- and southern Atlantic coastline has focused repeatedly on state and local responses to coastal hazards such as sea-level rise, flooding and coastal erosion.

For relevant publications, click here.

Gulf Coast

My work along the Gulf coast has focused on climate change impacts more broadly, and on state and local responses to coastal hazards such as coastal erosion. In addition, I contributed to a report that captured the proceedings of a workshop mainly sponsored by NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) Program, held in 2004. The workshop brought together scientists and stakeholders to assess research needs related to the impacts of climate change in that large state.

For relevant publications, click here.

Great Lakes

My work in the Great Lakes region has focused on climate change impacts and possible societal responses to it.

For relevant publications, click here.

Iowa

My work in Iowa has focused on climate change impacts and possible societal responses to it.

For relevant publications, click here.


My Outreach Experience

In my current and past positions, I have worked regularly with policy-makers and decision-makers at the local, state, and national levels. Examples include:

Work at the Federal Level:

  • informal support and formal briefings to staff of Senators McCain (AZ), Hagel (NE), Bingaman (NM), Domenici (NM), and Salazar (CO)
  • informal support and formal briefings to staff of Representatives Conyers (MI) and Udall (CO);
  • briefings and discussions with staff of various Congressional Committees, e.g., the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the House Appropriations Committee (Science, State, Justice and Commerce Subcommittee)

Work at the State Level:

  • briefing for ~50 California legislative and agency staff
  • testimony at hearing of the California Coastal Commission
  • additional briefings to state assembly and senate committees

Work at the Local Level:

  • advisor to the City of Chicago Climate Research Advisory Council, City of Chicago and Global Philanthropy Partnership
  • advisor to Mayor of Boulder on developing a local climate change outreach strategy
  • assessment of Al Gore's climate change communications training (The Climate Project)

In addition, my research has focused on policy- and decision-making at all of these levels. For more information see the Research page.