Featured link and image: NASA Watches Arctic Ice, click to see full story

Home Page (MVA) > Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) and Resources > IAMs Thematic Guide


Thematic Guide Icon

Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling



Major Unresolved Questions

Integrated assessment, of climate change and in general, abounds with unresolved questions. Outstanding substantive challenges are, in general, widely recognized. For example, with respect to climate change, the biggest challenges include the following:
  • improving understanding of the biggest long-term driving factors: technological change and population growth;
  • building better tools to represent impacts and adaptation, and to assess policies that facilitate adaptation;
  • providing useful representation of uncertainty, including low-probability extreme events, and blending of "softer" with "harder" information;
  • supplying methods to represent and assess policies as implemented, rather than in idealized form;
  • promoting richer tools to study collective decision-making and choices of other key agents than the audience, moving beyond the naive implication that assessment is addressed to a unitary decision-maker with authority to make the relevant policy decisions;
  • develping assessment tools relevant over long time horizons: putting climate change in context of other changes over 50 to 100 years (including discontinuities) (robust to range of plausible futures over that long).

In addition, a number of serious unresolved questions exist that are more general in character, concerned with the appropriate scope and audience for assessments, the relationship between assessment and policy-makers, and the extent to which assessment tools can be generalized across issues.


The next section is Assessments for Whom, on What, by Whom?.





Parson, E.A. and K. Fisher-Vanden, Searching for Integrated Assessment: A Preliminary Investigation of Methods, Models, and Projects in the Integrated Assessment of Global Climatic Change. Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). University Center, Mich. 1995.


Suggested Citation

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). 1995. Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling of Climate Change [online]. Palisades, NY: CIESIN. Available at [accessed DATE].



Our sponsors:

CIESIN - Center for International Earth Science Information Network
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration SEDAC - Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center

Need HELP or information? Contact SEDAC User Services
About SEDAC | Acknowledgments

Copyright © 1997–2012.
The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.
Privacy, Security, Notices