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A scoping study of UK user needs

for managing climate futures

Part 1 of the pilot-phase interactive
integrated assessment process
(Aurion Project)

John Turnpenny, Alex Haxeltine

and Tim O'Riordan

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Working Paper 31

A scoping study of UK user
needs for managing climate
Part 1 of the pilot-phase interactive integrated
assessment process
(Aurion Project)

Dr John Turnpenny and Dr Alex Haxeltine

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ

Professor Tim O’Riordan

School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ


Tyndall Centre Working Paper No. 31

April 2003


This paper presents the results of a survey of the needs of UK organisations for information about climate
change. The purpose of the survey was to inform the development of our research programme by helping us
to better understand how research on climate change can most effectively be of use. Many organisations are
affected by climate change – whether by direct impacts, indirect impacts (e.g. through climate change
policies) or by the need to include climate change in policy making or planning for the future of the
organisation. Analysing the complex implications of such impacts for individuals, organisations and even
countries requires the bringing together (or integration) of insights from a broad range of academic
disciplines including climate science, economics, social sciences and engineering.

We are involved in creating an integrated research framework to bring these disciplines together;
fundamental to this is the development of a process of interactions with key external stakeholders. This
should be a two-way ‘learning’ process where stakeholder knowledge and expectations inform and
contribute to development and execution of the research, and timely, relevant research results can be
effectively communicated to stakeholders. Stakeholders can then respond to the research outputs, continuing
a process of dialogue yielding insights into climate change which could not have been achieved through
research alone, or even through a one-off input of stakeholder needs.

The survey consisted of 40 interviews with a wide range of organisations drawn government, NGOs and the
private sector (users of climate change-related information) over the period November 2002 – February
2003. In the interviews we discussed with users their current use of climate change-related information,
where knowledge gaps exist, and what kinds of questions now need addressing.

A number of important findings and implications for our research emerged from analysis of the interviews:
1) There is less need for information on climate change per se than on information to support decisions on
responses to climate change; often this relates to the political process rather than to scientific research.
2) Information on climate change is used for a range of differing purposes (policy-making, organisational
planning, media, and advocacy) and this has implications for the nature of the information required.
3) Many users operate at the local scale, below the resolution of the best current climate models.
4) Users regarded a clear treatment of uncertainty as vital (also implying that it is important for scientists
to give honest assessments of the level of confidence to which particular questions might be answered).
5) Information about adaptation to the impacts of climate change, placed in a wider context of social and
economic change, is a key element of many users information needs.
6) The trust and confidence of users in research products or tools is not a given. It must be developed or
maintained through the process of interaction with the research. For this reason, and to ensure
relevance, it is vital to communicate with users on the co-design of tools. A key issue for many users is
the importance of being able to understand the working of computer models in lay terms. The value of
simple models should therefore not be underestimated.
7) Different users want different types of interaction with the research, from deep interaction with model
development to a general confidence that the right questions are being addressed in the right way.
8) Some users need numerical models, some need a synthesis of current research results, some need more
confidence from researchers, some need scenarios and some need analysis of human behaviour. There
is a need to use models, scenarios and other tools (such as visual images of futures) assembled in the
most appropriate way for each user question. We call such an approach ‘strategic guidance’.

The information gathered through this scoping study has proved valuable in informing our work. Over the
next 18 months we intend to use these insights in working with a subset of users to address specific questions
about climate change. The work will be organised through case studies, and will pioneer a set of tools for use
in the interactive research process.

1. Introducing the Aurion1 Project: a pilot phase interactive integrated assessment process for
managing climate futures

Climate change is a multi-faceted problem, requiring insights from climate science, economics, social
sciences and engineering to address the issue fully. One of the Tyndall Centre’s major research objectives is
to create an integrated assessment system, which brings together insights, knowledge and research results
from these diverse academic disciplines. This emerging field of integrative research is generally known as
integrated assessment (IA) (eg. Dowlatabadi & Morgan, 1993; Rotmans & van Asselt, 1996; Rotmans &
Dowlatabadi, 1998). IA is a useful way of approaching highly complex issues like climate change, which
involve a range of problems, disciplines, stakeholders and time and spatial scales (van Asselt & Rijkens-
Klomp, 2002). Climate change is very much a multi-actor problem; those involved include emitters of
greenhouse gases, those who make climate change policy and those who will be affected directly and
indirectly by climate change. This covers organisations from the largest multinational corporations, the
international research community, national, regional and local government, Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs), businesses and ordinary communities and citizens. Research on climate change must
engage with this range of actors, to allow actors to contribute knowledge to the research, to guide research
priorities, to allow effective communication of research results, to build political credibility and simply
because since they are affected by the problem therefore have a right to be involved (eg. Rotmans &
Dowlatabadi, 1998; Scheraga & Furlow, 2001; Tansey et al., 2002). Participation in climate change research
by non-specialists can range from interviews asking how people perceive climate change, through to a
significant involvement in the direction and nature of the research (eg. Kasemir et al., 2000; Lorenzoni et al.,
2000; Tansey et al., 2002; van Asselt & Rijkens-Klomp, 2002).

The Tyndall Centre’s research on IA is built on insights and recommendations from the “Blueprint Project”
(Warren, 2002). This comprised of a series of workshops, the first in February 2001, which investigated how
integrated research on climate change at the Centre might proceed. The workshops were attended by some
of the key pioneers of IA research, from natural science, computer modelling, and the social sciences. They
identified the need to develop an integrated assessment model (IAM) embedded within a process of
interactions with key external decision makers (or “users” of the research). The IAM aims to link reduced-
form models of the climate system with models of climate change impacts and economics to produce a more
integrated illumination of climate change than the models could produce on their own. The need for user
participation was recognised early in the Blueprint process, inspired by the success of the RAINS project
(Alcamo et al., 1990). The need for interaction with national government and to provide input to the process
of implementing the Kyoto Protocol were seen as particular priorities.

Within Tyndall integrated research, the process of interaction with users has several functions. It should be a
two-way ‘learning’ process. In this, stakeholder knowledge and expectations inform and contribute to
development and execution of the research. This ensures that timely, relevant research results can be
effectively communicated to stakeholders. Stakeholders can then respond to the research outputs, continuing
a process of dialogue which will eventually result in insights into climate change which could not have been
achieved through the research alone, or even through a one-off input of stakeholder needs. We refer to this
process as an Interactive Integrated Assessment Process (IIAP).

The Aurion Project is our attempt to begin this process by creating a pilot-phase IIAP. The aim is to co-
produce answers to key questions about climate change by facilitating a learning experience that both allows
researcher-stakeholder interaction, and ensures the bringing together of the IAM with other integrative
methods such as scenario analyses, expert systems, and formal qualitative methods.

Warren (2002) also recommended an appropriate design to incorporate stakeholder involvement. Without
such a design, stakeholders may be selected on an ad hoc basis rather than through a structured identification
of who are the most appropriate people and organisations. This highlights the need to develop a conceptual
framework for the IIAP capable of providing a robust design for reliable implementation. The creation of a
functional IIAP will proceed through a dual approach of case study applications combined with work on the
design, conceptualisation and theoretical underpinning.

aurion is the Classical Greek word for “tomorrow”, and also for “a morning breeze”

In addition to advancing science through innovative processes for integrating information, Aurion proposes
to pioneer new methods of communication. This means both communication between researchers, between
researcher and user, and researcher and the wider community. The IIAP, and the Tyndall Centre as a whole,
is dependent on collaboration and reliable communication with other researchers and research projects. This
is especially important in a distributed (or networked) institution consisting of many different academic
disciplines and practitioners.

There are five principal work streams involved in the Aurion project, which together with development of
the Tyndall IAM, form the overall Tyndall IIAP:

1) A scoping study of user needs for integrated climate change research;

2) The development of a conceptual framework for the creative design and application of the IIAP;
3) The development of a set of methods for stakeholder interactions;
4) An exploration of the potential for formal qualitative methods to contribute to the IIAP;
5) The design and execution of a set of case study applications for testing the IIAP.

This working paper present the results from the completed first work stream of this project.

2. A scoping study of stakeholder needs in the UK context

The aims of this scoping study were:

1) to carry out a survey of user needs for integrated knowledge from climate change research in a UK
2) to assess how various users of IA research related to the concept of an IAM, and what they sought from
models generally and other forms of futures research and interactive communication;
3) to establish a better understanding of future user needs for IA research;
4) to initiate long term relationships with a representative sample of the main clients for the IIAP.

Interview aims and methods

The scoping study was carried out through a series of interviews during the period November 2002 to
February 2003 (see Appendix 1 for interview structure). The aims of the interviews were:

1) to identify which organisations are most likely to use integrated information on climate change;
2) to find out what information they currently use on climate and socio-economic change, and any other sorts
of information;
3) to discover the gaps in that information and how an IIAP could potentially help fill these;
4) to explore what questions each user needs answering.

The interview questions, while following the same broad structure for each interviewee, recognise the
differing roles that organisations play in their interaction with climate change. These differences are
explored through Question 1. The style of the interviews was exploratory, reflexive and probing.
Respondents were encouraged to interpret and develop the questions as they felt was suitable for them. The
analysis followed the broad pattern of the interview structure. The outcome was a process of negotiated
guidance. The method therefore followed the principles of stakeholder interaction.

At this stage we have narrowed the focus from climate change ‘stakeholders’ (who we define as “those
individuals or groups who may be affected in some way by climate change”) to “users” of information on
climate change. We define a user as “an organisation which may make use of information related to climate
change to help plan the future of that organisation’s policies”.

We start from the assumption that the significance of stakeholder involvement rests on three styles of
interaction. One is at the level of acknowledgement, or the acceptance of the legitimacy and authenticity of
the process. Simply by agreeing to the workings of the process, and by understanding these in a responsive
manner, the stakeholder is bestowing a degree of legitimacy on the mechanism. The second style is one of
authoritative support. Various stakeholders have access to information or to interpretations of analysis that
guide, correct and authenticate a model or a procedure of prediction and response. This level is vital for the

authentication of any outcome. The third level is friendly intervention. This means correcting information
or reshaping assumptions and modelling forms. The role of a critical friend is a vital one for those with
special insights into modelling and scenario analysis. It is important to create opportunities within any IIAP
that allows for each of the three styles of interaction. This is the framework of the analysis and
recommendations which follow.

The primary client-base for the IIAP is the UK (although the research will address both the global and
national scales) and our initial “sample space” covered three major groups: government, the private sector
and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Government. This group includes climate change policy advisors within government and specialised research
institutes. This includes both those responsible for the UK‘s contribution to the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and those responsible for all aspects of UK climate policy. A
comprehensive selection of national government departments were identified, and local and regional
authorities. This group includes government-funded agencies such as the UK Climate Impacts Programme
and Environment Agency. Discussion on interaction with climate change was directed to the department or
agency’s responsibility in making policies either on climate change mitigation (reducing atmospheric
greenhouse gas concentration) or adaptation (dealing with the consequences of climate change).

Private Sector. We chose to focus on those sectors strongly driving or affected by mitigation or adaptation
options. In this scoping study we selected energy, automotive, investment and insurance sectors. Discussion
in interview question 1 investigated the extent and way that each private sector organisation was concerned
with climate change. This involved discussing their strategies for emission reductions, environmental policy,
and how climate change, or policies to address climate change might affect their organisation.

NGOs. A broad range of both environment and development-focussed NGOs were identified, especially
those involved in climate futures campaigns. Discussion in interview question 1 was structured in a similar
way to the Government group.

We also identified several individuals with overviews of specific sectors such as construction or renewable
energy, and, for a wider context, the IPCC.

Each user was interviewed face-to-face for about one hour, using the open-ended question framework
detailed in Appendix 1. The aims of the interviews were to gather initial information and begin to develop
an ongoing relationship with users, not to attempt to change opinions or challenge users on their positions.
Where possible, recordings were made of the interviews, and summary notes were taken from the recordings.

The scoping study initiates a process of participation in the design and use of the IA framework. van Asselt
and Rijkens-Klomp (2002) define participatory methods in this context as:

“methods to structure group processes in which non-experts play an active role in order to
articulate their knowledge, values and preferences”

In our case, these “non-experts” are those involved in making policy decisions in which climate change is a
factor. Note again that we are addressing our research to users rather than stakeholders. Although the
scoping study introduces potential users of the IA results to the design of the framework, the interviews
themselves are only a first stage in the process – from the above definition, individual interviewing can be
used to elicit information but is not a participatory method (which involves group participation) in itself.

Interview analysis
Each interview was recorded so the flow of the discussion was not interrupted by comprehensive note-
taking. Each interview tape, and any notes taken, formed the basis for a written summary which condensed
the main points. The summaries were all less than three pages long. In a further distillation, the most
important words and phrases (the ‘key points’) were noted.

3. Results

The interviews provided a very rich data set on the types of information on climate change (and related
future changes) currently being used by organisations and their stated future information requirements
(including the timescale and spatial detail organisations are interested in). The interviews also provided
insights into how different users interact with each other and how they might interact with research on
climate change.

As an initial stage in the analysis we developed from the ‘key points’ of the interview summaries a table
summarising the data gathered (see Appendix 2). The table provides insights into the users’ involvement
with climate change, their links with other organisations, current information use and future information
requirements as detailed in the following three sections. Appendix 2 also provides details of the
organisations interviewed, and their abbreviations are used subsequently in this paper (private sector
organisations interviewed are referred to generically by sector rather than being named specifically in this

3.1 Users’ involvement with climate change and interactions between users

As described in Section 2, there is a distinction between users engaged in formulating or influencing policy
on climate change, and those who are concerned with the impacts of, or policies on, climate change on their
activities. The first type of users (generally national government and public sector, and NGOs) have usually
had a long standing involvement with the issue, whereas the second type are generally just beginning to
engage deeply with climate change matters. A good example of the latter is the UK investment and pensions
sectors, who have begun to consider in the last year or so how climate change should be internalised into
their investment practices. Exceptions to this distinction are policy-making organisations which operate at
small spatial and temporal scales. These include local authorities, and resource sectors such as the water
industry who have long been concerned with the potential impacts of climate change.

Many organisations do not interact with others about climate change itself – indeed, few use any detailed
information about actual climatic changes. All users of both types assumed that climate change is
happening, and the information they use is to help them respond to climate change. This may, for example,
be assessing potential impacts, analysing energy policy or reducing vulnerability of those most likely to be
affected. Interactions between organisations tend to happen broadly within the government and NGO
groups. DEFRA takes the government lead on climate change policy, while other national government
departments use DEFRA’s information on the scientific aspects of climate change to inform their own
diverse policy questions. Other government departments address climate change in the wider context of
sustainable development; all departments must have a policy on the sustainability issues surrounding their
activities. For example, the Department for Transport (DfT) is reviewing its ten-year plan for transport. Part
of this review deals with the transport contribution to environmental change, which impacts on sustainability.
There are both formal and informal cross-departmental links in addition to sharing of information on climate
change, with the aim of coordinating government activity on sustainable development. DEFRA and DTI, for
example, liaise closely on energy policy and its implications for greenhouse gas emissions and the UK’s
commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. The White Paper on Energy (DTI, 2003), for example, is a joint
product of these two departments. In an aspiration of high political profile, its analysis is rooted in the
context of climate change and the scope for reducing CO2 emissions by 60% of 1990 baseline levels by
2050. There are also fairly strong links between the NGOs interviewed, and through this a route into
government policy-making. Private sector organisation interaction tends to happen within very specific
sectors, often facilitated by trade bodies and umbrella groups such as the Association of British Insurers
(ABI), or the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership.

3.2 Current use of information on climate change

National government is responsible for planning 50+ years ahead, and in doing so uses a range of methods
for examining how society and economy may change. For example, possible changes in energy demand or
costs and level of uptake of energy efficient technologies require at least 20 year lead times. Local

government operates at much shorter timescales, since they are driven by national legislation which provides
much of the strategic planning function. In any case, they cannot give the resources or the budgetary
freedom to design in long term strategic change. They are thus different from the national
government/NGO-type users described in Section 3.1, although they are responsible for policy-making at the
local level. However, some LAs are planning up to 25 years ahead, for example in the planning for siting of
infrastructure. To date, little of this has been driven by climate change considerations.

The private sector, apart from those directly affected by climate change impacts, or those with a very long-
lived infrastructure such as the water industry, generally looks less than 5 years ahead. However, sectors
such as electricity generation and vehicle production, with very long term scope for technological shift, think
strategically over 25 + years. While direct impacts of climate change may not affect many private sector
organisations, feedbacks and indirect effects of climate change may have an impact on activities. In
addition, possible policy shifts by devolved, national and European government also require calibration.
There is great potential for using and IIAP to illuminate these.

NGOs are variable, some concerned with campaigning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, others with
raising awareness of the long-term implications of climate change. Some are concerned with the interaction
between environment and development, and the implications of climate change for justice and social equity.

Some users from all three groups (private, government-related and NGO sectors) use government-funded
information on climate change, such as the UKCIP02 scenarios (Hulme et al. 2002). At a regional level, all
three groups have been involved in preparing scoping studies of the impacts of climate change under the
umbrella of the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP). These are now complete for nearly every UK
region ( Crucially, funding and participation in
these studies has been provided by regional stakeholders themselves, which have raised the profile of climate
change among organisations previously not engaged with the issue.

3.3 Future requirements for research and information on climate change

In this section we address in more detail the different types of questions that users want answering. There
are a wide range of user needs involving issues, such as the scale of information required, detail in the results
required, whether focussed mostly on mitigation or impacts and whether interested in examining impacts of
legislation/policy choices. Table 1 lists some of the categories of questions (with examples) and the users
who are interested in them:

The needs in Section 1 of Table 1 broadly equate to ‘direct impacts’ of climate change – how the physical
changes in the environment will affect particular activities. The other sections, and the majority of the
interviewees, cover a much wider realm, those of indirect aspects of climate change. This includes impacts
on an organisation’s activities in a secondary way (eg, through changes in the economy, or changes in policy
generally, or in the legislative framework), and the large number of users who want to know what responses
to policies may be, and how behavioural change can be encouraged. In short, this second set of questions
require a much more interactive and integrated approach to climate change. In the subsections below we
expand on the major points which emerge from Table 1.

Certain aspects of the results presented here are similar to analysis by the UK Climate Impacts Programme of
a range of studies on potential impacts of climate change on different UK sectors and regions (McKenzie
Hedger et al, 2000). This body of work identified two main categories of need: 1) better spatial resolution
and information on extreme events, 2) a more integrated approach which will simulate interactions between
different sectors and inform adaptation measures. This approach would include potential socio-economic
change, assessment of the relative importance of socio-economic and climatic change, and, by inference,
assessment of the interactions between them.

1) Sector-based issues
Impact of CC on water supply and quality Water sector
“Pragmatic” scenarios of climate impacts Insurance sector
Thresholds of vulnerability, abrupt changes, extreme events FCO, Insurance sector, Action Aid
Impact of CC on wind patterns at specific sites Wind power industry
Implications of CC for nature conservation RSPB, WWF-I
Climate futures information for adaptation in built environment Construction sector
Information on why action should be taken; including “headline” Friends of the Earth, WWF-I
impacts which can be readily communicated to public
2) Global scale impacts, mitigation & adaptation
CC impacts on food security, development, justice Action Aid
Global analysis of stabilisation pathways DEFRA, CAN-Europe
International responses to CC impacts, policy responses to CC impacts FCO, Greenpeace
Costs and feasibility of mitigation, adaptation and damages avoided DEFRA (GA), DTI, Strategy Unit, IPCC
(eg. achieving a 60% reduction in emissions from UK energy)
3) Integrating social, economic and environmental implications of
climate change
Socio-economic impacts of CC, society-economy-environment SDC, LAs, SNW, Automotive sector
Impacts of legislation on UK economy (in global context) DTI, Treasury, all private sector organisations
Integrating impacts with demographics, planning model output to Water sector
understand policy options rather than a prediction
Analysis and quantification of interactions between sectors IPCC
4) Impacts of climate policy on organisations
Risk exposure ratings for individual companies/sectors’ vulnerability Insurance, Pensions, and Investment sectors
to climate change policy and impacts
Impact of legislation on business and expected policy regimes Energy sector, GHG professional advisors
Effect of cross-sector feedbacks on effectiveness of climate policy DTI, DEFRA (GA)
Impacts of global/EU climate policies on UK economy DTI, Treasury
5) Public responses to climate policies & measures
Understanding impact of social behaviour on transport DfT
Public response to policies; effects of policy measures; impacts of CC- DEFRA (SEP), FCO, DH,
related legislation Telecommunication Services, Investment and
Automotive sectors, Action Aid
Political acceptability of climate policies Strategy Unit (Cabinet Office)


Local/regional scale SNW, LAs, Water and Insurance sectors,
Construction Sector, Wind Energy Sector,
National/international scale national government, multinational service
sector, environmental NGOs (WFF-I, FoE,
Short time scales (less than 20 years) Action Aid, LAs, Wind Energy Sector, most
private sector organisations
long time scales (20 + years) national government, Action Aid, water and
insurance sectors, environmental NGOs

Table 1: Information needs of our different users, and examples. [CC = climate change]

Spatial and temporal scales
Some of the users interviewed require information and analysis at national or global scales, the primary
examples being DEFRA, DTI and IPCC. However, we suggest that these now represent a minority of all
users requiring information on climate change. Many users operate at the regional and local scale, often
below the resolution of the best current climate models. In order for, say local authorities, to assess the
lowest-risk areas for siting of housing, very specific local information will be required, not only on potential
frequency of future flooding, for example, but on vulnerability of households based on a range of criteria
such as income. This leads from the previous point about the need for socio-economic information – much
of the variability of these aspects are at very small spatial scales (down to the street level):

“CC and socioeconomic change are inseparable – need to be together if considering sustainable
development, not just a sustainable environment. Most difficult area is the social dimension – generalisation
over large spatial scales is not helpful – need much more spatial detail. A lot of currently available
information doesn’t integrate well.” [Sustainable Development Commission]

Again, use of local knowledge, experience and context are vital to allow useful research. Much of this can
only be provided by the users themselves. In addressing questions on a small spatial scale we need to link a
top-down approach (such as an IAM) with bottom-up insights from the location concerned, both from
professional experts and citizens.

One area which needs careful communication is in expression of uncertainty over future projections. Most
users mentioned the need for clear treatment of uncertainty, and users needing to make immediate
decisions are often frustrated by the lack of clear expression of how certain the various future scenarios of
climate change are:

“it is difficult to make concrete business decisions with uncertainty over CC.....more indicators of
probabilities will be useful, but any gaps will still be difficult for business” [Insurance Sector]

“We want a probabilistic understanding of future changes to inform business decisions.” [Association of
British Insurers]

“We would like more confidence in scenarios; there could be a worsening relationship with regulators if
scenarios (and hence water companies’ investment choices) keep moving. Better clear uncertainties would
also help” [UK Water Industry Research]

Use of the terms “uncertainty”, “confidence”, “accuracy”, “detail” and “precision” are a rich field for
problems of communication. Researchers and users have their own definitions of these terms assuming the
other group understands what they mean:

“Scientists need 95% confidence for ‘truth’, but stakeholders are happy with, say, 60% confidence.”

Improved spatial resolution in model output, for example, may give the impression of greater accuracy, and
absolute confidence in the results down to the level of presented detail. This may lead to over-interpretation,
which may not be justified given levels of uncertainty involved:

“users often ask for more resolution when they want more confidence.” [UKCIP]

As a more integrated approach emerges, levels of uncertainty are likely to rise. It is important to be clear not
only about the appropriate level of interpretation of results, but about exactly what all parties mean by
different terms and clarify what levels of confidence are required. Having raised this caution, however,
researchers can be caught in a bind since emphasis of uncertainty can also be counter-productive:

“uncertainty is an opportunity [for policymakers] to do nothing – it is best to focus on the ‘most likely
scenario’ – be certain, to force action. eg. go with one scenario and examine impacts on most vulnerable

communities (eg. on contents insurance). There is a need to know [what the issues are] so councils can
protect their communities. This would be welcome advice.” [Local Authority]

The only way out of this bind is to ensure effective communication between researchers and users to reach
an optimal acknowledgement and presentation of uncertainty. It is also important for researchers to give
honest assessments of the feasibility of answering particular questions, or of giving a better level of

Many users want the social and economic aspects to be given more prominence
A very clear implication of the interviews was that for many users, the impacts of climate change in the
wider context of social and economic change are vital. This is a different focus to that of ‘traditional’ IAMs,
which have tended to focus on physical impacts, in which it is often less conceptually difficult to produce
generalisable results:

“On the whole, the socio-economic aspects of the model will be most important, but this is difficult given that
these are less easy to specify than, say, the efficiency of a motor.” [DEFRA (SEP)]

However, if a serious attempt is to be made to both answer users’ questions, such as how to adapt to the
physical impacts of climate change, and produce research which is applicable varying individual
circumstances, it is vital to include these aspects:

“Impacts/Mitigation are often split because of different methods/analysis techniques, but both ultimately
come about through behavioural change at a regional level” [Sustainability North West]

NGOs, for example, need the capacity to mobilise a common infrastructural agenda around policy shifts,
new forms of assessment and to incorporate social justice into climate change considerations. A particular
issue of interest is behavioural responses to climate policies and measures, and the effect of this on issues of
political feasibility. One example raised in the interview with DEFRA (GA) was the UK's fuel tax escalator
(a tax on petrol, introduced in the mid-1990s which increased above the rate of inflation each year). This had
been relatively acceptable politically for several years – but in 2000, an unanticipated threshold of tolerance
was crossed, and truck drivers and farmers began blocking the supply of fuel. It is clear to a decision-maker
that taxes cannot increase indefinitely, so to add value the model has to identify where this kind of threshold
is. It is a challenge to provide useful analysis on changes in behavioural responses over time, such as
showing whether a fuel tax which followed the overall oil price, might be more “politically acceptable”:

“[a model] must be very adaptable to large changes in interpretation and to unanticipated shifts in outcome
and policy input.” [FCO]

“Acceptability” depends crucially not on overall costs but on the details of the winners and losers resulting
from a specific policy (Cabinet Office Strategy Unit). Since it is very difficult to produce general theories
about social responses to events, there is a need to use local knowledge and expertise from within and
outside formal research organisations, to address these aspects (Irwin, 1995).

The implication is that a radical contextualization of the research results is required. This is in part a result of
the climate change issue reaching a level of maturity where most users are increasingly focused on how it
should actually affect their decision-making. We explore below how such a contextualization of the research
can be achieved.

Some users expressed concerns over ability of IA modelling address to address their needs
Some users were sceptical about IA models and their appropriateness for answering their specific questions.
In some cases this was because users felt that a single issue model or direct use of climate scenarios could
better answer their questions, in other cases users recognised a need for an integrated analysis of the climate
change issue, but were concerned about the ability of IA models to provide adequate spatial/sectoral/social
resolution or an adequate treatment of relevant feedbacks. This concern was expressed strongly in some of
the interviews with UK government departments. In the development of the recent Energy White Paper for
example, a paradox was noted: there was a need for evidence-based policy (requiring quantitative estimates
of the costs of greenhouse gas mitigation in the energy sector) while there was also an increasing lack of trust

in the ability of current energy models to deliver valid estimates of the future costs of transitions to different
energy regimes. Lack of trust was due to a complex range of issues. These include historical engagement
with IA models of climate change (mainly from the US) which predicted very high costs for climate change
that seemed unreasonable to the expert judgement of the decision makers concerned, and concern over the
lack of data and the validity of the basic assumptions of the models.

We suggest that this finding results, in part, from the fact that the climate change issue is now of concern to
an extremely broad range of societal actors rather than just specialist government organisations or NGOs as
would have been the case just a decade ago. Within IA research, an early screening stage is therefore
necessary (such as this scoping study) to identify where, when and how an IAM is an appropriate tool. There
is, amongst many of the users interviewed, less need for information on climate change per se than for
information to support decisions on responses to climate change. Often this relates to the political process
rather than to scientific research:

“There has been no scientist in Greenpeace on CC for 3-4 yrs – it has ceased to be a scientific issue. The
debate on whether it’s happening is finished, only the oil industry want to open the debate again. GPUK’s
work on CC is not on CC science, but on deliverability of options – what measures can be enacted and the
feasibility of political action” [GPUK]

“models not used and not seen as relevant. The main driver is corporate responsibility and leadership and
political will.... key issue for any [IIAP] is price, technological drive, policy support, customer response.”
[Automotive sector]

“There is no clear future for models of any kind:

• they are already familiar in climate terms;
• they do not move public opinion, who cannot understand them;
• they are too confusing and multi-variate when simple messages count;
• they are missing the point of influencing political leadership;
Models simply pile funny numbers on top of funny numbers. There are too many models. Few command
credibility over the mid-term future.” [Media]

The concerns that users had were a complex mixture of genuine concerns about the scientific robustness of
IA models combined with broader trust and credibility issues. Scepticism may thus arise either because a
model is seen to be scientifically inadequate or simply because the model results are not politically popular.
Users also expressed the opinion that it is not always necessary to produce state-of-the-art complex models.
In some cases for some users, simple ‘ball-park’ figures are enough to answer their questions:

“Users need to know what you can believe about a model – given the uncertainties, can we only say it’s
either a positive or negative change, for example? This can be a valuable result itself.” [DEFRA (SEP)]

“Users are interested in things they can influence – eg. what are the impacts and what can they do about
them? It would be more useful [for example] to link 2 impacts models (eg. agriculture or biodiversity or
water) rather than energy-CC-one impact models.” [UKCIP]

The value of simple models should not be underestimated: “most of the best policy models are small and
simple. At least in their essentials they can be easily understood and described to others.” (Morgan &
Henrion, 1990). A key both for technical and non-technical users is being able to describe the working of the
model in lay terms.

Users are not always aware of important aspects of climate change

It emerged from some interviews that users were not concerned about potential climate change impacts that
have been identified as serious by researchers. The IA process should also address issues which few users
have raised, such as potential impacts of long-term sea level rise (> 100 years), both in carrying out the
research and in communicating the importance of these.

4 A classification of different “modes” of interaction with IA modelling

4.1 The classification

In order to aid our future interaction with users, we need to further condense the data presented in Section 3.
Since the primary focus of this study was on understanding the ways users interact with development of
integrated research and how they might use this research, we chose to use these insights to classify the users
on the basis of their potential interaction with an IAM. We approached this by devising a simple 2 x 2
matrix classification of users, a common approach in social science. It is necessarily simplistic, and can be
misleading, but offers a powerful way of ordering complex data. It is offered here as a basis for analysis, and
is a starting point for further investigation.

Dimension 1: Degree of focus on the direct impacts of climate change

The specific questions identified in Table 1 divides the users into two main categories. Sub-Section 1
(Sector-Based Issues) relates to the direct environmental impacts of climate change, such as on flood
frequency, water supply and high temperatures. The users asking the questions in Sub-Sections 2 – 5 are a
much wider range relating to less direct impacts, such as on social and economic aspects of their activities,
the effects of socio-economic change itself, integration of social, economic and environmental impacts with
policy measures and feedbacks between them, behavioural responses to climate change and the effects of
different climate change policies both on society and on the climate itself. We define the vertical axis of the
2 x 2 to be degree of focus on the direct impacts of climate change.

Dimension 2: Degree of interaction with model development

Another distinction, connected with the first, relates to how users would wish to be involved with
development of an IAM, and we propose this as the horizontal axis in the classification. These range from
those who need only headline results simply summarised (labelled “Hands Off”), to those who need a broad
understanding of the feedbacks within the IAM, and detailed interaction with parameter choices and equation
development (labelled “Direct Interaction”). Note that “Hands Off” does not mean no interaction, but a type
of interaction which doesn’t involve the specific task of construction of the IAM. As in the vertical
dimension, these distinctions are not unique, but they do provide a valid basis for assessing future needs for
IA research.

Four major groupings are thus extracted based on each quadrant of the axes (Figure 1). It is important to
emphasise that these modes refer to the special case of interaction with IAMs, not a commentary on the focus
of each organisation.

Due to the richness of the data, there are many possible dimensions which could have formed the axes. For
example, Wade et al (2000) classifies according to stakeholders' vulnerability to socio-economic change and
climate change impacts. Overall, our axes were chosen to represent the most important aspects of the way
that users interact with integrated research on climate change.

Given the depth and variety of the data, we believe it is not meaningful to make fine distinctions within just
these dimensions by placing users on a continuum. Hence users are simply arranged alphabetically within
each quadrant.



Construction Industry DEFRA – GA (Technical)

GO-EAST RSPB (nature conservation)
Insurance Sector
Water Sector
Wind Energy Sector
WWF-I (nature conservation)



Action Aid Cabinet Office Strategy Unit

Automotive Sector DEFRA – GA (Policy)
FCO DTI (Technical/Policy)
Friends of the Earth RSPB (Policy & Campaigning)
Investment Sector
Oil industry
Pensions Sector
Telecommunication Services Sector
WWF-I (Policy & Campaigning) “OPERATORS”


Figure 1: Posited classification of users (and their roles) according to their interaction with an IAM.

It should be emphasised that organisations’ positions are not fixed in time – they can vary in response to
many different stimuli. The positions here represent a snapshot at the time of the interviews. The
classification was found to work well for most organisations. Some organisations’ remits cross the
classification boundaries: the IPCC for example needs information on both the direct and indirect impacts of
climate change. In other cases it is not realistic to plot an entire organisation in one particular quadrant, but
it is possible to clearly situate different parts of the organisation within different quadrants, many of the
government departments being good examples of this.

4.2 Analysis of clustering

The classification reveals four distinct groups of users, which we have labelled as follows:



A fairly small, but influential group; often technical specialists within government, concerned with the facts
to back up climate change policy decisions. They are concerned with the direct impacts of climate change. In

some cases these users may not require the added complexity of using results from an integrated model but
might instead prefer to use state-of-the-art versions of sectoral impacts models.

This group is similar to the Specialists in that they are concerned with the details of any models used in the
research process. However, they are usually concerned with both the direct impacts of climate change and
the (indirect) impacts on the economy and social conditions. Usually technical, concerned with climate
change as part of the wider policy framework. These are the organisations who are likely to be most
exacting about what an IAM should do; in order for the results to have sufficient credibility this group needs
to be involved with the assumptions (e.g. choices of parameter values, type of feedback included) that make
up an IAM. The Operators and Specialists together correspond roughly with the initial stakeholder
classification ‘Friendly Intervention’ (Section 2)

Concerned with direct impacts of climate change, often as part of sustainable development. Not so interested
in the detail of the model, but in how the results can inform change. For example, many organisations
involved with planning the use or conservation of natural resources would fit within this grouping. These
users fall roughly within the initial ‘Authoritative’ classification (Section 2).

These organisations are usually concerned with a range of social and economic drivers. Their main
awareness and interest in climate change is in how it might impact on the economy, business, and social
conditions. These are often users who do not normally make direct use of models of the IAM-type. They are
less concerned with the state-of-the-art in impacts models, but are more concerned with feedbacks between
climate, society and economy. A good example is the Pensions sector who would like to be able to assign a
risk exposure rating to companies and/or sectors based on their vulnerability to the climate change issue;
however, they would have limited technical resources to examine the basic research inputs required to make
such a rating and would rely on the credibility of the information provider. This category is complicated
since it implicitly includes organisations who do not yet have a clear picture of how climate change might be
relevant to them. These users fall roughly within the initial ‘Acknowledgement’ classification (Section 2).

4.3 Towards multiple modes of interaction

• Specialists and Sectorists represented a rather small subset of the users sampled in the survey; the
organisations interested in the direct impacts of climate change are mainly government bodies,
organisations involved in the management of natural resources, and some specialist NGOs. Thus most
business users and many government and NGO users are less interested in direct impacts of climate
change than in the socio-economic implications and the feedbacks, especially in private sector.

• Organisations classified as Operators want to understand broadly how an IA model works as well as its
technical details:
“Need complex models to make sure different systems are best represented but need something
simple like ‘order of magnitude’ estimates to be able to talk through steps as well to see if the
result is what ‘we would expect’ – even simple spreadsheet models need this. Often we have to
explain to a minister why an answer is, say 5 and not 10, rather than spending a lot of effort getting
a “sausage machine” to give 4.72. You must be able to explain any ‘surprising results’; this might
include challenging all assumptions, worldviews in the model.....need to be able to explain the steps
to intelligent lay people – if you can only do it by resorting to complicated maths then you’re on
thin ice”. [DEFRA (SEP)]
• Some of the users interviewed, such as several UK government departments, have a long experience of
using models on climate change, however, they are now moving into a phase where the imperative of
addressing long-term emission reductions that will affect all parts of UK society mean that the questions
they need to ask about climate change are becoming increasingly complex. These are mainly in the
Specialists and Operators categories.

• Regardless of a “Hands Off” or “Direct interaction” approach, many users do need to interact with the
research and model development process at some level. The distinction is rather about whether they
require a technical interaction or a non-technical explanation/dialogue about the model assumptions:

“[An IAM] could be useful, but to be so, it needs an intelligent interactor [ie. the user of the
information]. [Without this], to anyone not involved in creating it, it’s pretty unconvincing. The
reaction to results is either blind belief or blind disbelief; often the disbelievers can’t be persuaded
once the results are there” [DfT]

“context and uncertainties need to be clearly expressed. Need to interpret it for the user.
Whatever is produced needs to be focussed, straightforward language.” [Telecommunication
Services Sector]

• Sectorists and Generalists will typically not need to use the direct quantitative results of research, rather
they are interested in the broad implications of research results for their particular planning, policy,
strategic decision making tasks. However, although they do not often use them, they do like hard
numbers and data to back up any messages/conclusions which they might extract from research results.

• A significant group of users, especially in the business sector, are just beginning to move into a phase of
a more active engagement with the climate change issue. Many of these are found among the
Generalists. They are beginning to internalise climate change into both the day-to-day decision making
and long term strategic planning of the organisation. Also within the Generalists class are those who are
concerned with climate change but require information on the process for effecting change, such as some
environmental NGOs.

5. Implications for integrated research on climate change in the UK context

A number of insights into the requirements of “user-oriented” integrated research on climate change emerge
from this study. The assessment was carried out in the context of a project that is developing an IA
modelling framework informed by an ongoing process of stakeholder interactions. Emerging from the
interviews is an initial mapping of the richness and complexity of the questions that users are asking about
the climate change issue in the UK coupled with insights into the modes of interaction that are most
appropriate for different users. What we found was that climate change has been elevated into a meta-policy
issue. It is intrinsically connected to international relations, humanitarian concerns, food, trade, major
economic considerations, biodiversity management and tourism. In this context, actors are increasingly
being drawn into complex scenarios of possible futures that have to involve other organisations, governments
and citizens. Here we examine the implications of the results for the design of an Interactive Integrated
Assessment Process able to supply the identified needs of users.

5.1 Classification of users

Our classification of users in relation to their interaction with an IAM in Section 4 reveals two important
aspects to users’ needs.

Is an integrated MODEL enough?

Some of the users interviewed thought that IA models were exactly the tool that they required and were
simply enthusiastic to see the production of IA models that could better address their specific information
needs. However, these users represented a minority of those interviewed. For many users, their questions are
difficult to solve using traditional IA models. This issue most clearly relates to: 1) the need for
understanding behavioural responses of people and organisations to policies and changes; 2) the high spatial
resolution of information required; and 3) the degree of sectoral resolution required (e.g. for decision-making
about investments in specific companies). Users classed as Operators and Generalists are most likely to
need this information. They were most likely to flag the need for a wider perspective than can (traditionally)
be given by an IAM. These users were also more likely to be uneasy with the need for using any models at

Do they want IA at all?

The second issue relates to the question of whether a user wants integrated assessment (whether model-based
or not) at all. Many of the organisations categorised here as Specialists or Sectorists have a well defined
interest in climate change and this might lead to the assumption that they would be among the most
appropriate users of IA models of climate change. However, we have found that this group of users in many
cases do not see themselves as requiring any Integrated Assessment for their information needs. IA attempts
to illuminate areas which are not normally covered by conventional climate change research such as
feedbacks between sectors, the indirect effects of impacts and the wider implications of policies and
measures, which may be of most use to the Generalists and Operators. Specialists or Sectorists have often
had their questions answered by traditional research on direct environmental impacts of climate change on
specific sectors, and may want to continue down this familiar path. One reason for this may simply be that
an integrated approach is necessarily more complicated, and previous research efforts have not persuaded
users that they can trust the representation of this complexity. However, IA research may in fact provide a
more comprehensive way of addressing of these questions than a traditional disciplinary approach, provided
the research process is well-designed. From the viewpoint of the expert judgement of the IA scientist, there
must thus be regarded as being two important reasons why users may not want to engage with IA: firstly
because there information needs can be adequately met by disciplinary based climate change research; or
secondly because there are trust or credibility issues involved in their perception of Integrated Assessment.
The credibility issues we encountered included a perception that Integrated Assessments would have to
address issues so complex and intractable that they would not be scientifically rigorous enough to produce
credible results (the rubbish in, rubbish out position). In some cases this perception was based upon past
experience with IA and IA models, and in others cases it was based on a general perception of the
impossibility of addressing complex interactions and feedbacks in the issues they were interested in.

Our preliminary conclusion is that the IA process needs to identify in its first contacts with a user whether a
direct interaction with an IA model will be sufficient to satisfy their information requirements. If not, then to
address the two issues discussed above, we see a requirement for embedding any use of the IAM within a
process of providing a “contextualization” of the model outputs. We refer to this process as “strategic
guidance”. Interaction is crucial to the success of this approach: the aim should be to first co-develop with
users the range of questions that surround a specific decision-making task; from this the specific questions
that can be addressed with the IAM can be identified (in direct collaboration with the model experts). The
communication of the results back to the users then involves a crucial further stage of dialogue and
interaction where the models outputs are interpreted and supplemented with expert judgement and other
available research outputs (e.g. from non-modelling based studies). The aim is provide guidance on the
specific decisions that users have to make in the context of climate change.

5.2 An interactive research process

The analysis of the interviews has provided a greater understanding of the form that such an interactive
research process should take, and especially an understanding of the ways in which the interaction must
operate in different “modes” for different types of user. By “interactive” we mean a process of “co-learning”
between researcher and user which involves users understanding each stage of the tool building process as it
happens, and being able to influence these stages. This must go beyond normal methods of interaction with
stakeholders, in which stakeholder opinion forms part of a research process and goals defined by the
researchers alone. It is a willingness to break down traditional barriers and engage in a new kind of research,
a willingness to accept expert knowledge from outside formal research institutions. The result is that both the
questions that users are asking and the research evolve together resulting in a “co-development” of
knowledge on climate futures.

However, the classification of users shows that a high-level of interaction with the research process is not
perceived as being appropriate by all users. The “generalists” in particular represent a broad category of
users who would wish to draw on the results of contextualized research but would not have the expertise or
be willing to commit the resources (at the present time) to a full interaction with the research process. From
the research viewpoint there will also always be a limitation on resources and therefore the ability to only
interact with a small subset of potential users. The solution here is that the results of “case study”
applications of an integrated research process with users in the “operator” category can then be
communicated to a wider group of “generalist” users. Such an activity should be designed into the research
process and appropriate resources allowed for it.

Many of the users in the “operator” category provided ideas and insights into how interaction might be set up
in the most effective manner. The need for interaction at both a technical level and the decision making level
was emphasised, and the fact that these two activities should be harmonised. For example, in interacting with
a government department it is important to ensure that the technical experts within the organisation
understand and have “buy in” to the assumptions and structure of the IA model. Then the addressing of
specific policy-relevant questions has a much greater chance of succeeding because the sections of the
organisation involved in high level decision making on policy will be able to receive support and
confirmation from their technical experts as to the credibility and appropriateness of the modelling tools
used. The co-ownership of the modelling tools with the user would be a further extension of such an
approach to interaction.

5.3 Contextualized information and “strategic guidance”

Climate change has a much higher profile than even five years ago. UKCIP scoping studies of the impacts
of climate change have been, or are nearly, completed for every UK region, and for several sectors such as
water demand and nature conservation. The UK legislative framework (with measures such as the Climate
Change Levy, the Renewables Obligation and city Congestion Charging) is beginning to seriously affect
peoples’ activities. A series of extreme events, such as the widespread flooding in 1998, 2000 and 2002, and
the continued erosion of the eastern English coast has been identified as consistent with climate change. The

result is a much wider appreciation of the significance of climate change across UK society, but also much
more confusion about what to do about it. Gone are the days when climate change research meant only
heavy-duty computer modelling of the climate, for only national government clients or the international
science community. Today, the questions are increasingly multitudinous, eclectic and focussed on the ‘now
what?’ rather than the ‘is it happening?’. It is increasingly apparent that in coming years climate change will
permeate a vast range of decision making processes within both business and national, regional, and local
government. However, the interviews suggest that this “mainstreaming” of the climate issue is still very
much in flux: it is still not as widespread as it could be, especially at the very local level and among
organisations which will not be much affected by direct climate change impacts such as the services sector.
What emerges from this study is the clear implication that this mainstreaming of the climate change issue is
resulting in very complex questions being asked about climate change. These questions need to be more
clearly defined before being tractable for integrated climate change research; this can only be done through
an interactive research approach.

The interviews have also indicated that, for the majority of users the complexity and contextualization of
their questions means that they are not easily tractable with traditional modelling tools. The researcher needs
to provide information which is wide-ranging and multidisciplinary - integrated information, which is
capable of answering many different questions, but also in a way which respects the knowledge and position
of the users. The concerns that some users had about modelling were a complex mixture of genuine
concerns about the scientific robustness of IA models combined with broader trust and credibility issues.

The solution is partly a scientific one: developing models which either represent a consensus within the
scientific community or, where this is not possible, demonstrate scientifically valid reasons for differences
between models and their assumptions (or better still to present results from a range of models employing
different fundamental assumptions). However, this alone is not enough. Any strategy for dealing with
credibility issues must also understand the political-economy and history of the use of IA models in the
particular context of the user involved in the interaction. There is a need to use models, scenarios and other
tools together as a suite which can assist with such providing of a radically contextualized answer to a
question. This suite should be free to contain any combination of tools for addressing a problem - including
using heavy-duty computer models, if they are what is needed. This is the activity that we refer to as
“strategic guidance” – using the most appropriate tools for the job, and not being limited by researcher or
user prejudice. Such an approach will probably only succeed in the context of an interactive research

There is an emerging literature on the philosophy and practice of ‘strategic guidance’ as a way to proceed on
IA research. Indeed it has been asserted that the quality of an IA approach can be judged partly by whether a
suite of appropriate tools are used (Risbey et al., 1996). Such an approach is also much more likely to
achieve political credibility (eg. Rotmans & van Asselt, 1996; Kasemir et al., 2000). Combinations of
different IA tools have been employed in studies such as the Georgia Basin Futures Project (qualitative
scenario method + open-design computer model - Tansey et al., 2002) and the integrated approach to turning
sustainability into practice in Greater Manchester (Ravetz, 2000). In such a process:

“Decision making becomes what it has always been about, finding our way through partially undiscovered
country rather than charting a scientifically determined course to a known end point.......These decisions
must be informed by science, but in the end they are an expression of human ethics and preferences, and of
the socio-political context in which they are made” [Kay et al., 1999]

6 Incorporating these implications into the Tyndall Centre’s IA Framework

The primary aim of this study was to inform the development of a functioning pilot-phase of the Tyndall
IIAP. This is an ongoing process involving two key elements: a) translating the general implications for IA
methodologies identified in Section 5 into operational solutions within the IIAP; b) identifying the specific
questions which the Tyndall IIAP can address by engaging users with the current and future potential
research capacity of the Tyndall IAM and other research outputs. Operationally, this is being achieved
through the following areas of work, which will build on and develop the strategic guidance approach
introduced in Section 5.

6.1 Selection of “application cases” or case studies for the Tyndall IIAP

The results of the interviews have had an immediate implication in informing the choice of “application
cases” or case studies for the Tyndall IIAP over the next two years of the research. The case studies may
involve answering questions with a single user but mostly will involve interaction with a cluster of users that
have sets of similar questions focused around a specific aspect of the climate change issue; and facilitating
interaction between the users can be an important part of the case study design.

A set of four main criteria have been identified as being important in the choice of which cases studies are
developed for application of the IIAP:
1. Is Integrated Assessment (using an IAM or other tools) required?
• Is there other research ongoing within the Tyndall Centre, or elsewhere, which could
adequately answer users’ questions without the need for new IA research?
2. Do we have the research capacity to answer the users’ questions?
• Do we have (or can we obtain/develop) the required modules for an IAM?
• Do we have (or can we develop) other aspects of IA conceptual thinking to answer a question
• Can we do the above on the required timescales?
• Do we have the resources to carry out the research tasks required to answer the questions?
3. To what extent is it likely to be possible to work interactively with the users?
• Are they able and willing to commit the required resources to the interaction?
• Do they have the required technical capacity to interact with the process?
• Will it be possible to engage in an interactive dialogue over the definition of specific research
• How rapidly are the users’ needs likely to change? Does this conflict with the timescale for
delivery of research results?
4. To what extent do the proposed case studies contribute to fulfilling our research objectives?
• Need for cases that can provide a proof of concept of the IIAP – i.e. deliver results
• Objective of contributing to the advancement of the science of Integrated Assessment
• To what extent is the case study likely to result in an effective contribution to the
development of sustainable solutions to climate change? Does the user/group of
users/questions being addressed represent a leverage point in the system?

In order for the case studies to be effectively selected on the basis of these criteria we need to develop an
operational framework for user’ engagement. This is involving several simultaneous pieces of work.

6.1.1 Conceptual framework of users

We need to determine the best places for IA to be applied; indeed to identify what we mean by ‘best’. This
may mean, for example, the place where IA results are used most frequently, in most detail, or where they
have the most far-reaching power to influence sustainable responses to climate change. In order to complete
this, we first need a broad understanding of the dynamics of the system, identifying leverage points, and
using transition management theory to identify ‘windows of opportunity’ and ‘lock-in’ (Martens and
Rotmans, 2002). We will create a conceptual framework of users and their interactions, along with a graph
theoretic analysis of the UK policy network on climate change.

6.1.2 A set of methods for user-designer interactions
We need to build on the participatory integrated assessment literature to develop formal methods for
interacting with users, providing an interface between the formal IA model, other integrative tools (e.g.
expert systems, visualisations) and users. At its simplest level it will include a protocol for keeping users
informed of the developments in the research and ways of incorporating user questions, comments and
design input into the IIAP.

We intend to build upon several previous approaches to research-user interactions:

• Policy Exercises approach: users contribute to the development of a set of scenarios which capture the
policy-questions they are interested in; these scenarios are then used to develop specific model runs with
an IAM, and the results are fed back to the users. In the light of the scoping study’s identified need for
‘strategic guidance’ (i.e. bottom-up rather than top-down use of tools) this method would appear to be a
useful one;
• The user makes decisions within a simulation exercise such as a Virtual Decision Theatre;
• Include the user in the model by modelling the decision making process (e.g. Adaptive Agent
Modelling). Other Tyndall projects which may link with this approach include IT1.7 “Behavioural
response and lifestyle change in moving to low carbon transport futures” and T2.32 “Climate outlooks
and agent-based simulation of adaptation in Africa”.

It will be necessary to adapt and develop a methodology for assessing and integrating the knowledge claims
of different stakeholders, which may be disparate and conflicting. Another important question is to clarify
the influence users are actually able to have over the design of component models of an IAM, since these
will mostly be ‘off-the-shelf’ traditional models, not designed for detailed interaction with users. Our
methodology will build on Tyndall research project IT1.14 “Developing discourse coalitions to incorporate
stakeholder perceptions and responses within the Tyndall IA”, and in close collaboration with related
Tyndall work (Research Theme 3) on developing a methodology for stakeholder analysis.

In deciding on scenario use, it is almost traditional to use four scenarios – representing a ‘best case’, ‘worst
case’ and ‘two in the middle’. Both the IPCC and UKCIP, as well as many other studies, many based on
these two overall approaches, have focussed on this pattern (eg. Berkhout et al., 1999; Ravetz, 2000; IPCC,
2000; Hulme et al., 2002). The aim is to scope out a possible full range of futures to allow decision-makers
to examine how robust different organisations, activities and policies are to this range. Decision-makers,
especially among the Sectorists and Generalists, by contrast often want to know the ‘most likely’ scenario;
their concern is with anticipatory planning for change, not influencing policies to reach the ‘best’ scenario.
Almost invariably the medium-high scenario is chosen as not so extreme as to be ‘unrealistic’ but extreme
enough to test out the systems. As some of the users stated, the UKCIP scenarios are based on idealised
extreme social and economic conditions, all representing major cultural changes from today’s world, but
without indications of how we may get there. Since scenarios are so subjective and open to many
interpretations we believe that using fewer scenarios, but linked to specific policy pathways rather than ideal
visions of the future, will reduce confusion, aid users and better support practical moves towards sustainable
responses to climate change. This does not mean we should merely go for what present-day users think is
‘realistic’. It is important to maintain in our thinking the potential for radical changes in social and cultural
attitudes, technologies and measures of success; but couching this in a framework which shows how these
changes might happen.

We intend to frame our UK-focused research around two scenarios: one based on a target of 60% reductions
in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for the UK, and the other a baseline scenario that projects future
emissions based on an extrapolation of current trends. The UK policy framework is now set out for a 60%
reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (RCEP, 2000; DTI, 2003). It is timely and important to give
advice based around this target, how pursuing this target might affect organisations’ activities and how
climate change impacts may be manifest given such a sharp reduction in greenhouse gases. Working within
this broad framework, it is important that we should build the details of user questions into the scenarios on a
case-by-case basis in conjunction with users. Globally focused case studies will use a similar approach but
employ specific greenhouse gas stabilization targets as the basis for the scenario.

6.1.3 Range of potential case studies
The range of possible case studies is broad. A final selection and definition of case studies will be made
based on further interaction with users, and a formal application of the set of criteria and methods identified
above. To help start this process, we have identified two groupings for the case studies, based on different
spatial scales and differing targets for the framing of scenarios.

National to International Scale – IA analysis in support of the UK’s role in global climate regimes
This case study would interact with UK government and the international community responsible for
negotiating international greenhouse gas reduction targets, by:
• An application of the Interactive Integrated Assessment Process, to provide analysis to support UK
involvement in the development of international climate regimes (such as through investigating
different greenhouse gas stabilisation measures); especially in the context of the discussions and
negotiations surrounding the development of a Post-Kyoto agreement;
• Contributing to the objectives and information requirements of the IPCC AR4;
• Linking the IIAP to a range of other international research initiatives such as FP6 research projects and
the HOT project (an international stakeholder led dialogue on implementing Article 2 of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to provide - through use of the “strategic
guidance” approach - a locus for information and research outputs of relevance to answering users’
questions on Post-Kyoto climate agreements.

National, Regional and Local Scales – Adaptation and mitigation strategies in the context of a 60%
emissions reduction target for the UK
We will interact with organisations at the UK and sub-UK (regional and local) scales to help illuminate
questions about climate change by:
• Integrating information on impacts and adaptation and mitigation options;
• Using a “strategic guidance” approach – providing a contextualization of the research through
application of different IA tools as appropriate; for example, use of IA models combined with a
“nested” approach (addressing local concerns with local information) and a Virtual Decision Theatre;
• Working with initiatives such as Councils for Climate Protection and the UK Climate Impacts
Programme to ensure that our work adds value to ongoing initiatives.

The two case studies are complementary and the insights at different spatial scales will inform and enhance
each others’ effectiveness.

6.2 Communication and further development

An absolutely vital part of this project is effective communication, both internally, between researchers, and
externally, between users and researchers. A key challenge is to create a sustainable dialogue with users: one
that successfully engages users over an extended period of time.

Communication with other researchers is taking several forms. We are preparing journal articles on the
results reported in this Working Paper for Integrated Assessment and Climate Policy, to be submitted in late
spring 2003. Further working papers and academic journal articles will provide updates on progress on the
overall project. In addition, within the Tyndall Centre, a series of cross-Research Theme networking
activities on scenarios and stakeholder interactions will be initiated. Finally there will be a dissemination of
results to the wider climate change research and integrated assessment community through direct
collaboration with a number of other key European research institutes (including ICIS and PIK), and through
participation in a number of international fora, such as the United Nations University Forum on Integrated
Environmental Assessment Modelling.

A proposal was also developed for the Tyndall Centre’s third round of funding which will develop the IIAP
beyond the pilot phase from August 2003. As part of this we will explore the creation of a Virtual Decision
Theatre within the IIAP by reviewing existing activities and creating and maintaining close contact with
developments in the SoftIAM project (T2.15) and T2.43 “Visualising coastal futures: Technologies for
decision making in participatory coastal management”. Insights from this last project will help us
understand how users might react to credible images of climate outcomes in the face of their own choices.

7. Conclusions

The purpose of this study was to inform the development of an interactive Integrated Assessment process
(for climate change) that creates an ongoing two-way dialogue between the researcher and decision maker.
It involved a rapid scoping (some 40 semi-structured interviews) of the needs of a wide range of users for
information on climate change, and has provided us with an imprecise but “orientating” mapping of the
needs of users in the UK context. The primary success of the study was that it succeeded in reframing the
research in the light of the actual needs of the user community.

A wealth of insights emerged into both the differences between the research capacity (both within the
Tyndall Centre and in the wider research community) and questions of users, and the challenges of the actual
process of interacting with users. On this basis alone we would strongly recommend the adoption of similar
scoping studies as a first phase in other research projects aimed at addressing real world problems.

The study highlighted when and where interaction is appropriate and what level and mode of interaction is
appropriate. It also highlighted a number of important issues concerning the use of IA models in the
interactive process. IA models are a highly attractive tool in Integrated Assessment because they provide a
formal analytical method for integrating knowledge from diverse sources and disciplines to answer complex
questions. The concept of co-developing these models in partnership with users is attractive because it
promises the possibility of developing models which are more appropriate to the exact needs of users.

However, the conclusion of this study is that in many cases a more refined mode of interaction with users
may be necessary to answer their questions. The reasons for this fall into three principal categories:

1. users may have concerns over the credibility and appropriateness of IA models
2. users may have questions which are highly contextualized and therefore beyond the
spatial/temporal/sectoral/social resolution of available IA models
3. developing new models with users can be a highly resource intensive task

For a small minority of the users interviewed (e.g. technical groups within national government departments)
a direct interaction with an IA modelling system did seem appropriate to answer their information needs. In
most cases these users were specialist information providers within larger organisations who traditionally use
models to provide inputs into a wider policy or decision-making process. For these users their two main
interests in interaction are to address credibility issues and develop new models/modules.

For many of the users interviewed, however, their questions were of a highly contextualized nature. We
have explored the distinction between direct usage of climate change information for policy, organisational
behaviour and advocacy, and more indirect links to other policy options and political arenas. This represents
in part a mainstreaming of the climate change issue in recent years, and many different societal actors are
now asking very specific questions about how climate change should be incorporated into their decision-
making processes. There is a desire to see how choices now influence choices in the future in a way that
copes with uncertainty yet yields outcomes that are legitimate and plausible. Our conclusion is that for such
users an interpretation of IA model results is required in order to place the model outputs in the exact context
of the users’ questions. This interpretative process should draw upon other sources of knowledge as
appropriate, including climate data sets, expert judgement and scenarios developed jointly with users. We
refer to this process of providing a contextualization of research outputs through dialogue with users as
“strategic guidance”. Beyond what might be described as the traditional users of IA research, there is a
much larger groups of users including business organisations, regional planning authorities and NGOs that
require such “strategic guidance”. Part of strategic guidance should involve examining how climate futures
information may be better traded and understood among users and potential new users. This opens up
opportunities for a much wider array of “futures” imaging, for example, to be used as creative learning tools,
and provides a basis for dialogue between users.

A note of caution is also in order, however. Once an attempt is made to develop an interactive research
process, there is a danger of losing the independence of the research process in a number of ways. The
research may be:
• led towards trying to achieve impossible goals;

• bogged down by conflicting value systems;
• led towards answering questions for political ends rather that achieving primary research goals (in this
case developing sustainable solutions to the climate change problem).

Across the interviews with government, business and NGOs there was almost universal agreement that
climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed. There is a danger of creating unrealistic expectations
of possible research results. The IA process needs to be designed to avoid this. This is especially important
as the authors take the view that the climate change issue has the potential to be reframed in a variety of
ways as sustainable solutions are sought, and that academic organisations should play a role in such creative
reframing, where appropriate. This is not possible if the research agenda is driven in a narrow sense by the
user. Any interaction must take the form of a true dialogue between scientist researcher and operational user.
This is the true spirit of IIAP.

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Appendix 1 – Interview Structure

The interview was structured around four main “anchor” questions and the bulleted list beneath each
question are intended as guidance for the interviewer in elaborating on these questions.

1. Interaction of your organisation with the climate change issue.

Government organisation:
• What is the formal role of your part of your organisation with respect to climate change? Where does
that fit with the overall role of the organisation?
• Do you have any formal or informal links with other government organisations on climate change?
NGO organisation:
• What do you see as being the role of your organisation with respect to climate change?
Business organisation:
• Does your organisation have a climate change policy? Over what timescale does it operate? Does it
include: greenhouse gas inventory, greenhouse gas reductions strategy, targets for 2010, 2020?
• What are the key factors (both internal and external) that drive your strategy for emissions reductions
(and responses to the climate change issue in general)?
o cost saving / improved performance / management ethos
o reputation and improved positioning in investment markets
o moral commitment
• And how?
o internal regulation / trading of emissions / offsets of carbon dioxide
o any other offsets
o any other strategy
• How are decisions taken to develop and implement that strategy?
- structure of decision making / reporting patterns, and accountability
- verification / access to the Board on other key decisions
• In what ways do you seek to influence emissions reductions (and other responses to the climate change
issue) of organisations that you are in contact with including: suppliers, customers, use-phase of your
• Are you involved in any partnerships with other organisations on climate change? Or participating in
any voluntary agreements?

2a) What information on Climate Change does your organisation currently use?.....
• Examples of what we mean:
o Climate and weather data – e.g. flooding frequency
o Effects/impacts on nature, people and the economy
o Direct implications for your organisation/activities
o Projections of future climate-related legislation
• For what purposes is this information used/required?
• At what time scales and spatial scales do you require this information? And why?
• What are your reasons for using these particular sources of information? Are there credibility issues?
• Use of computer models: How are computer models used to provide this information?
• How does your organisation currently perceive the likelihood of climate change?

2b).....and information on future projections of the economy, society and environment?

Same questions as for climate change info, but in addition:
• Information might include scenarios of future socio-economic and environmental impacts and
• Does your organisation have any particular picture or philosophy about future socio-economic

3. Does this information fully meet your needs? If not, what further information do you require over
the next five years?
• How might you make further use of relevant models in the next 5 years?

4. Discussion on use of interactive simulation models as being developed at Tyndall: How might the use
of “interactive” models on climate and socio-economic futures be of use to your organisation within
the next five years?
• looking at feedbacks/interactions within and between modules (eg. economy and climate change)?
• which questions are you most interested in having answered (eg. international social changes, local
economic changes.....)?
• interactive aspect: how might the ‘learning process’ of model design, outputs and model redesign help
you? How is this different from approaches you have used in the past?

Appendix 2

From the data gathered in the interviews, we are able to outline a matrix of the various users, including the interactions between users, and some key details about
their interaction with climate change. The comments refer to the specific parts of the organisation involved with climate change.


Department for UK lead on climate change Other government Main part of UK 0-100years+ Comprehensive
Environment, Food both for UK policy and departments; interact government dealing research on achieving
and Rural Affairs, international negotiations with UNFCCC and with “science” of stabilization targets;
Global Atmosphere IPCC; fund Hadley climate change sceptical about
Division Centre usefulness of IAMs
DEFRA Sustainable develop policies and DEFRA (GA); DTI energy consumption; 20 – 50 years; national understanding model
Energy Policy manage programmes on uptake of or sectoral level operation in simple
Division energy efficiency and technologies; costs; terms; public response
(DEFRA - SEP) Combined Heat & Power public response to to policies;
(CHP) different signals
Department for take overall view of DEFRA on climate transport models for 20 – 50 years understanding any
Transport science & technology change information road transport models developed;
(DfT) evidence in support of projections social behaviour on
transport policy transport
Foreign & poverty relief, health DfID – in basic needs of IPCC, DEFRA,UKCIP Interest in specific effects of policy
Commonwealth improvement, natural food, health, education e.g. on changes in regions in global measures; international
Office (FCO) disaster prevention, and economic natural hazards and context; 0-50 years responses to CC
ecosystem resilience livelihoods water availability impacts; thresholds of
Department of planning for health impacts Strong link with DEFRA Report: Health Effects less than 40 years; Willingness to pay for
Health (DH) of climate change of Climate Change in national scale concepts like ‘good
the UK, links between health’; how to change
climate and health behaviour; little need
impacts through for further conventional
modelling and expert science

Department of Trade Interest in maintaining DEFRA, Industry, other impact of climate 0-50 years; national Cross-sector feedbacks;
& Industry (DTI) - competitiveness of government departments change on business; scale (in global context) analysis of impact of
(overall policy) industry wrt to climate impact of policies on global/EU regimes on
change policies and business UK context
DTI (Technical) Renewable energy supply, other government Potential role of 0-50 years Detailed analysis on
energy economics departments and industry renewables in energy system and role
mitigation; Energy of renewables; need to
transition in UK produce models with
more credibility
HM Treasury Interest in costs of climate Interacts with other Mainly gets Mainly 0-10 years More information on
change policy to UK government departments information from other impacts of legislation
economy and tax revenues government on UK economy
Cabinet Office Provide (longterm) Direct link to PM; Require wide range of Strategic time scales Interested in interactive
Strategy Unit strategic analysis of many interact with rest of information on climate from 5-50 years models; strategic and
socio-economic and government; project change impacts, scenarios approach;
environmental issues teams composed of 50% adaptation-mitigation interest in political
external experts measures for UK (in acceptability of policies
global context)
Government Office incorporating climate EEDA, Utilities, Local Impacts on eg. 0-20 years; regional Information in support
for the East change into regional Authorities, Health biodiversity, water, scales of regional planning
(GO-EAST) planning Trusts, UKCIP energy, housing. guidance
Local Authorities driven by national central government on UKCIP, DEFRA local-scale (city); short socio-economic impacts
(LAs) government legislation; climate change information on climate timescales (5 – 25 of CC
actions limited by statute information; regional change years)
Sustainable provoke and inspire report to PM various Focus on strategic social impacts of CC;
Development change to sustainability issues at wide range of communicability of
Commission scales results
Water Sector affected directly by CC central government (and climate change 0-100 years (more for model output to
through water quality & agencies) on climate scenarios, computer some infrastructure understand policy

availability, flooding change information modelling of water investments) options rather than a
systems prediction
Insurance Sector affected directly by CC central government (and climate change Primary focus on next pragmatic scenarios;
[Association of through claim value agencies) on climate scenarios, esp. on 0-5 years; with lesser headline messages
British Insurers change information; extreme events; also long term interest in up AND detailed data;
(ABI) and central government on interest in utility of to the next 100 years abrupt changes/extreme
independent legislation; re-insurance long-term weather events; Information to
consultant] industry; consumers predictions support investment
Wind Energy Sector Focused interest on how DTI; interact with 1) Specific direct For legislation next 0-5 Information of likely
climate change will affect utilities and investors and impacts of climate years; for climate legislation and its
consulting opportunities in government on wind change on wind predictions next 20 impacts; specific data
wind energy markets projects power; 2) How years on changing wind
(globally) legislation impacts patterns
wind energy markets
Construction Assumption that change Influenced by Don’t use much 0-50 years (more for Information for
Industry must be legislation-driven government legislation climate change some infrastructure adaptation measures;
within this sector and regional planning information directly investments) onus on scientists to put
regulations information in relevant
& understandable
Automotive Sector not generally concerned political change, 5 – 10 years, national economic change,
with direct climate change economy, and international customer preferences,
impacts technological change, economy level legislative change
customer response
Oil Production & Interested in implications Other oil companies; Only indirect use of Legislation impact over Likely impact of
Exploration of climate change government; strongly research on climate ca 5-20 years legislation; and
legislation both in terms of affected by legislation change science implications of different
direct impacts and new technological and
business opportunities mitigation pathways

Investment Sector not generally concerned Increasingly interact with Currently not using Mostly <5 years at potential CC-related
with direct climate change companies on CC issue; much information on individual business legislation changes;
impacts interacts with other CC; business viability; level, but up to 20 year Operational methods to
investors on CC issue impacts of legislation time horizon for large rate risk exposure of
on business institutional investors companies and sectors
to climate change
Pensions Sector Possible role as a leverage Invest in companies; General use of IPCC- Interested in 30-40 Risk ratings for specific
point for change; produced increasingly interact with type reports years but currently companies/sectors in
industry leading report on other institutional much shorter terms of their
climate change in 2002 investors on CC issue operational focus vulnerability to climate
change impacts and
Professional Aims to take a lead role in Active in ACBE, in UK Mainly information on 0-20 years (longer for Impact of legislation on
Advisory Firms providing consultancy on policy process; GHG accounting and certain infrastructure business; implications
greenhouse gas (GHG) interactions with other management; also investments) of climate change for
management business organisations require information on infrastructure
impacts of legislation investments
Telecommunication not generally concerned changes in economy <5 years, national and short, focussed
Services Sector with direct climate change international economy information; clear
impacts level uncertainties; impacts
of CC-related
Sustainability driving change to regional authorities, all aspects of regional society-economy-
Northwest sustainability; facilitating central government; sustainability environment feedbacks;
(SNW) and coordinating relevant private sector, especially involvement of
specialist work water and energy stakeholders; local case
Greenpeace UK campaigning to reduce other NGOs (eg Friends political positions; political processes
(GPUK) carbon emissions, less of the Earth), Energy political and corporate generally; policy
concerned with impacts of Savings Trust statements – to inform responses to CC
CC campaigning focus impacts
Action Aid campaigning on global other NGOs (eg. short-term (disaster CC and food rights,
poverty Oxfam); DfID response); longer term development, justice;
(eg. food security) extreme events; impacts
of CC policies
Friends of the Earth A primary interest in the Other NGOs; with public Use wide range of 0-100years Research that allows

(FoE) social and equity impacts through campaigns; also information on climate FoE to make the case
of climate change interact direct with change in campaigns for 1) why action
policy process should be taken 2) how
it should be taken
WWF-International Umbrella organisation for Lobby government; Use wide range of 0-100years Interest in interactive
(WWF-I) national WWFs; special interact with other NGOs information on climate models; interest in
interest in biodiversity and and conservation world change; also “headline” impacts of
conservation wrt climate commission research climate change
RSPB Wide ranging engagement Interacts with Uses global scale 0-100 years More precise
with the climate change conservation information to inform information on impacts
issue organisations; interacts campaigning position; of climate on nature
in campaigning role with local/regional scale to conservation;
policy process; interacts inform conservation information on
with individual RSPB management mitigation pathways for
campaigning work
Climate Action Umbrella group for large Strong interaction with Strong interest in 0-100years Specific request for
Network-Europe number of environmental other NGOs; interaction energy system information on lower
(CAN) NGOs, especially in with policy process; does transition pathways stabilization scenarios;
UNFCCC negotiations interact directly with wide interest in
public mitigation strategies
Intergovernmental Synthesiser of research; Provides an international Use very wide range 0-100+ years Interactions between
Panel on Climate indirect & limited role as link between policy of information from sectors; integrating
Change (IPCC) research agenda setter process and scientific peer-reviewed adaptation and
community literature mitigation; cost curves


Media reporter on environment issues [1 interviewee]: For action on climate change, there needs to be strong political leadership and large increases in public
awareness of CC. Models will probably not help with this.

UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) [3 interviewees]: UK government-funded organisation to help organisations find out how they will be affected by CC
and to help them adapt. Facilitates stakeholder-led research. Interviewed to give a perspective on IA research from an overall stakeholder viewpoint.

Appendix 3

The text below was used as an ‘Executive Summary’ addressed directly to our interviewees in communicating the results. It was presented as summarising the
salient points while inviting users to read the full report if they wished.


What we are doing and why

• This paper presents the results of a survey of the needs of UK organisations for information about climate change. The purpose of the survey was to inform the
development of our research programme by helping us to better understand how research on climate change can most effectively be of use.
• Many organisations are affected by climate change – whether by direct impacts, indirect impacts (e.g. through climate change policies) or by the need to include
climate change in policy making or planning for the future of the organisation. Analysing the complex implications of such impacts for individuals,
organisations and even countries requires the bringing together (or integration) of insights from a broad range of academic disciplines including climate science,
economics, social sciences and engineering.
• At the Tyndall Centre we are creating an integrated research framework which aims to bring these disciplines together. Fundamental to this is the development
of a process of interactions with key external stakeholders. This should be a two-way ‘learning’ process where stakeholder knowledge and expectations inform
and contribute to development and execution of the research, and timely, relevant research results can be effectively communicated to stakeholders.
Stakeholders can then respond to the research outputs, continuing a process of dialogue yielding insights into climate change which could not have been
achieved through research alone, or even through a one-off input of stakeholder needs.
• The survey consisted of 40 interviews with a wide range of organisations drawn government, NGOs and the private sector (users of climate change-related
information) over the period November 2002 – February 2003. In the interviews we discussed with users their current use of climate change-related
information, where knowledge gaps exist, and what kinds of questions now need addressing.

What we found
A number of important findings and implications for our research emerge from analysis of the interviews:
1) There is less need for information on climate change per se than on information to support decisions on responses to climate change; often this relates to the
political process rather than to scientific research.
2) Information on climate change is used for a range of differing purposes (policy-making, organisational planning, media, and advocacy) and this has
implications for the nature of the information required.
3) Many users operate at the local scale, below the resolution of the best current climate models.
4) Users regarded a clear treatment of uncertainty as vital (also implying that it is important for scientists to give honest assessments of the level of confidence to
which particular questions might be answered).
5) Information about adaptation to the impacts of climate change, placed in a wider context of social and economic change, is a key element of many users
information needs.

6) The trust and confidence of users in research products or tools is not a given. It must be developed or maintained through the process of interaction with the
research. For this reason, and to ensure relevance, it is vital to communicate with users on the co-design of tools. A key issue for many users is the importance
of being able to understand the working of computer models in lay terms. The value of simple models should therefore not be underestimated.
7) Different users want different types of interaction with the research, from deep interaction with model development to a general confidence that the right
questions are being addressed in the right way.
8) Some users need numerical models, some need a synthesis of current research results, some need more confidence from researchers, some need scenarios and
some need analysis of human behaviour. There is a need to use models, scenarios and other tools (such as visual images of futures) assembled in the most
appropriate way for each user question. We call such an approach ‘strategic guidance’.

What happens now

The information gathered through this scoping study has proved valuable in informing our work. Over the next 18 months we intend to use these insights in working
with a subset of users to address specific questions about climate change. The work will be organised through case studies, and will pioneer a set of tools for use in
the interactive research process. The case studies will begin on 1 September 2003; and prior to this will be designed in close cooperation with users. If you were
involved in the scoping study, we will contact you to discuss how to take this interaction forward. We will be asking whether you would like to be further involved
and (where appropriate) exploring your questions in more detail, the kinds of research which might address your questions, and the time scales over which this might

The trans-disciplinary Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research undertakes integrated
research into the long-term consequences of climate change for society and into the
development of sustainable responses that governments, business-leaders and decision-
makers can evaluate and implement. Achieving these objectives brings together UK
climate scientists, social scientists, engineers and economists in a unique collaborative
research effort.
Research at the Tyndall Centre is organised into four research themes that collectively
contribute to all aspects of the climate change issue: Integrating Frameworks;
Decarbonising Modern Societies; Adapting to Climate Change; and Sustaining the
Coastal Zone. All thematic fields address a clear problem posed to society by climate
change, and will generate results to guide the strategic development of climate change
mitigation and adaptation policies at local, national and global scales.
The Tyndall Centre is named after the 19th century UK scientist John Tyndall, who was
the first to prove the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight
changes in atmospheric composition could bring about climate variations. In addition, he
was committed to improving the quality of science education and knowledge.
The Tyndall Centre is a partnership of the following institutions:
University of East Anglia
Southampton Oceanography Centre
University of Southampton
University of Cambridge
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research (University of Sussex)
Institute for Transport Studies (University of Leeds)
Complex Systems Management Centre (Cranfield University)
Energy Research Unit (CLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory)
The Centre is core funded by the following organisations:
Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
UK Government Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

For more information, visit the Tyndall Centre Web site ( or contact:
External Communications Manager
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
Phone: +44 (0) 1603 59 3906; Fax: +44 (0) 1603 59 3901
Recent Working Papers

Tyndall Working Papers are available online at

Mitchell, T. and Hulme, M. (2000). A Gough, C., Taylor, I. and Shackley, S.

Country-by-Country Analysis of Past (2001). Burying Carbon under the
and Future Warming Rates, Tyndall Sea: An Initial Exploration of Public
Centre Working Paper 1. Opinions, Tyndall Centre Working
Paper 10.
Hulme, M. (2001). Integrated
Assessment Models, Tyndall Centre Barker, T. (2001). Representing the
Working Paper 2. Integrated Assessment of Climate
Change, Adaptation and Mitigation,
Berkhout, F, Hertin, J. and Jordan, A. J.
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(2001). Socio-economic futures in
climate change impact assessment: Dessai, S., (2001). The climate
using scenarios as 'learning regime from The Hague to
machines', Tyndall Centre Working Marrakech: Saving or sinking the
Paper 3. Kyoto Protocol?, Tyndall Centre
Working Paper 12.
Barker, T. and Ekins, P. (2001). How
High are the Costs of Kyoto for the Dewick, P., Green K., Miozzo, M.,
US Economy?, Tyndall Centre Working (2002). Technological Change,
Paper 4. Industry Structure and the
Environment, Tyndall Centre Working
Barnett, J. (2001). The issue of
Paper 13.
'Adverse Effects and the Impacts of
Response Measures' in the UNFCCC, Shackley, S. and Gough, C., (2002).
Tyndall Centre Working Paper 5. The Use of Integrated Assessment:
An Institutional Analysis
Goodess, C.M., Hulme, M. and Osborn,
Perspective, Tyndall Centre Working
T. (2001). The identification and
Paper 14.
evaluation of suitable scenario
development methods for the Köhler, J.H., (2002). Long run
estimation of future probabilities of technical change in an energy-
extreme weather events, Tyndall environment-economy (E3) model
Centre Working Paper 6. for an IA system: A model of
Kondratiev waves, Tyndall Centre
Barnett, J. (2001). Security and
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Climate Change, Tyndall Centre
Working Paper 7. Adger, W.N., Huq, S., Brown, K.,
Conway, D. and Hulme, M. (2002).
Adger, W. N. (2001). Social Capital
Adaptation to climate change:
and Climate Change, Tyndall Centre
Setting the Agenda for Development
Working Paper 8.
Policy and Research, Tyndall Centre
Barnett, J. and Adger, W. N. (2001). Working Paper 16.
Climate Dangers and Atoll
Dutton, G., (2002). Hydrogen Energy
Countries, Tyndall Centre Working
Technology, Tyndall Centre Working
Paper 9.
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Watson, J. (2002). The development Brooks, N. and Adger W.N. (2003).
of large technical systems: Country level risk measures of
implications for hydrogen, Tyndall climate-related natural disasters
Centre Working Paper 18. and implications for adaptation to
climate change, Tyndall Centre
Pridmore, A. and Bristow, A., (2002).
Working Paper 26
The role of hydrogen in powering
road transport, Tyndall Centre Tompkins, E.L. and Adger, W.N. (2003).
Working Paper 19. Building resilience to climate
change through adaptive
Turnpenny, J. (2002). Reviewing
management of natural resources,
organisational use of scenarios:
Tyndall Centre Working Paper 27
Case study - evaluating UK energy
policy options, Tyndall Centre Working Dessai, S., Adger, W.N., Hulme, M.,
Paper 20. Köhler, J.H., Turnpenny, J. and Warren,
R. (2003). Defining and experiencing
Watson, W. J. (2002). Renewables
dangerous climate change, Tyndall
and CHP Deployment in the UK to
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2020, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 21.
Brown, K. and Corbera, E. (2003). A
Watson, W.J., Hertin, J., Randall, T.,
Multi-Criteria Assessment
Gough, C. (2002). Renewable Energy
Framework for Carbon-Mitigation
and Combined Heat and Power
Projects: Putting “development” in
Resources in the UK, Tyndall Centre
the centre of decision-making,
Working Paper 22.
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Paavola, J. and Adger, W.N. (2002).
Hulme, M. (2003). Abrupt climate
Justice and adaptation to climate
change: can society cope?, Tyndall
change, Tyndall Centre Working Paper
Centre Working Paper 30
Turnpenny, J., Haxeltine A. and
Xueguang Wu, Jenkins, N. and Strbac,
O’Riordan, T. A scoping study of UK
G. (2002). Impact of Integrating
user needs for managing climate
Renewables and CHP into the UK
futures. Part 1 of the pilot-phase
Transmission Network, Tyndall
interactive integrated assessment
Centre Working Paper 24
process (Aurion Project). Tyndall
Xueguang Wu, Mutale, J., Jenkins, N. Centre Working Paper 31
and Strbac, G. (2003). An
investigation of Network Splitting
for Fault Level Reduction, Tyndall
Centre Working Paper 25

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