The ACIA texts used to analyze the framing of climate change are ACIA's full scientific report Arctic Climate Impact Assessment1 and the so-called overview document, Impacts of a Warming Arctic2 In addition, the scientific reports from Working Group I and Working Group II from IPCC's third assessment were used: Climate Change 2001. The Scientific Basis3 and Climate Change 2001. Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability 4 The third IPCC report, Climate Change 2001. Mitigation, was not considered as relevant since the topics covered were not key to the ACIA.
ACIA's scientific report is a book of 1042 pages with 18 chapters focusing on different topics, ranging from a description of Arctic climate in the past and present to analyses of impacts of climate change on ecosystems and local indigenous communities. Responsibility for the contents of the chapters rests with the lead authors. They, in turn, produced the chapters in cooperation with teams of contributing authors, consulting authors, and case study authors. The general style of the report is scientific in that it follows common norms of scientific writing, such as extensive use of references. The text has been peer-reviewed in a procedure that is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 of this dissertation. The scientific report is for the most part an assessment of available knowledge rather than a research report focusing on presenting new knowledge. As the lead authors described in their interviews, the major knowledge base of the report is in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Some authors have also used other published literature (e.g. institutional reports) and some chapters include case studies that were not published previous to the ACIA.
The ACIA overview document is a 145-page summary of the scientific report. It is framed as part of the scientific content of the ACIA but aimed at a different audience: policy makers and the broader public. It is specifically designed for these audiences, richly illustrated with graphic representations of issues and processes as well as a large number of photographs. It is written in language of popular science and references are made to chapters in the scientific report and are in summary form rather than the more traditional reference style used for the scientific report. The report is thus a different genre, even if the purpose is to convey the same base of knowledge as the scientific report. The author of the overview report is a professional science writer but its final content is also the result of collaborations with a graphics artist, the lead authors of the scientific report, and the Assessment Integration Team.
The overview has gone through national reviews but its wording has not been negotiated with policy makers or in meetings where the delegates were present with mandates from their respective countries. Rather, the overview obtains its credibility from ACIA's
ACIA, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). ACIA, Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
IPCC, Climate Change 2001. The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge and New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2001).
IPCC, Climate Change 2001. Impacts, Adapatation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group 2 to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
scientific assessment and the lead authors of the science report, as reflected in the following statement:
AMAP, CAFF and IASC have received written certification by the ACIA leadership and all the lead authors that the final scientific report reflects their expert views, and that this synthesis report is fully consistent with the scientific volume.5
The overview is organized quite differently from the scientific report. Rather than following the chapter structure of the scientific report, the major messages are highlighted as ten key findings that cut across the scientific framings in the different chapters. The key findings are initially presented very briefly on a two-page spread and later discussed more in depth under the section "Supporting Evidence for the Key Findings." It also includes a special section that highlights key impacts in four sub-regions of the Arctic. The report starts with an executive summary.
The IPCC reports belong to the same genre as the ACIA scientific report meaning they are assessments of existing knowledge and are presented in a scientific style with extensive use of references. The IPCC bases its assessments "mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature"6 There are special procedures for ensuring access to non-published material that is cited.7 According to the norms of IPCC, responsibility for the content of each chapter rests with the chapter authors. This is accepted by the respective working groups signifying "that the material has not been subject to line by line discussion and agreement, but nevertheless presents a comprehensive, objective and balanced view of the subject matter."8 The IPCC reports were published in 2001 and written before the ACIA report. It is thus difficult to separate whether differences in framing are related to shifts in time or other differences to the contexts of the two assessment processes. As discussed in the background to the ACIA in Chapter 5 of this dissertation, the ACIA reports cannot be seen as independent of the IPCC. Rather, based on ACIA's history, one might expect the 2001 IPCC assessment to be seen as a starting point for the more in-depth regional assessment in the ACIA.
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