Although making choices about how to respond to climate change fundamentally involves values, ethics, and trade-offs, science can inform and guide such decisions.
In particular, science can help identify possible courses of action, evaluate the advantages and disadvantages associated with different choices (including trade-offs, unintended consequences, and co-benefits among different sets of actions), develop new options, and improve the options that are available. It can also assist in the development of new, more effective decision-making processes and tools. These goals require interactive processes that engage both scientists and decision makers to identify research topics and improve methods for linking scientific analysis with decision making. Active dialogue with stakeholders at local, regional, national, and international levels can also enhance the utility and credibility of, and support for, scientific research. Strategies, tools, and approaches for improving linkages between science and decision making are described in Chapter 4 and discussed in detail in the companion volume Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change (NRC, 2010b).
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