Regional climate change impact assessments bridge the global and local, and can enlist local decision-makers in direct and culturally appropriate ways. Regional assessments help local leaders see what the future holds for the things their populations care about, understand the decisions they will need to make, and support their public communication. In addition, local knowledge and monitoring are required to identify the uncertainties and critical triggers of the climate system and anticipate the impacts.
Each region has a unique combination of interacting environmental, economic, and social factors, and its own ways of reaching decisions. Local participation is essential, as is communicating in terms local people understand. To earn the trust of local populations, each region should design and carry out its own assessments, with international support but not direction.
Knowledge Action Networks that focus on specific regions and impacts can link the global science, technology, and policy communities to local initiatives. These are sponsored social networks connecting the generators of pertinent knowledge with local decision makers. Modern information techniques can ensure good communication within and between the global, regional, and local levels.
Knowledge Action Networks create a two-way flow of information, knowledge and methods between local communities, scientists, opinion leaders and decision makers, and their regional, national and global counterparts. Different networks will have different spatial scales depending on their particular situations, and may also differ in the temporal horizons of their concerns and actions. Flexibility is required to enable Knowledge Action Networks to find their most appropriate scales of action.
Their functions should include:
Knowledge Action Networks: Connecting Regional Climate Change Assessments to Local Action
Climate Change: Think Globally, Assess Regionally, Act Locally
By Charles F. Kennel
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